When the Entertainment Software Association's president Michael Gallagher calls today "a very, very good day for the gaming industry," he means this, U.S. President Barack Obama's inclusion of video games as part of a new education initiative.
Obama's blink and you might miss it mention of games as an education device is nestled within more lengthy discussion about the importance of funding traditional math and science programs. But to have games talked about in this context isn't something we heard much from previous administrations.
"The MacArthur Foundation and industry leaders like Sony are launching a nationwide challenge to design compelling, freely available science related video games," Obama said. He name-checked Sony's LittleBigPlanet program alongside organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Discovery Communications and Sesame Street.
Obviously, Sony is pleased.
"We're thrilled by the opportunity to participate and support the Game Changer Challenge announced today," said Jack Tretton, president and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "It casts a huge spotlight on the innovative medium that is video games and digital entertainment. It also embodies for us what we see everyday - - that amazing things can happen when you provide the right tools and environment, combine it with great technology, and put it in the hands of really creative people."
If you'd like to watch that press conference for yourself for context, here it is.