No, The Government Is Not Paying $1 Million For People To Play Video Games

Did you know the government is spending $US1.2 million to pay people to play World of Warcraft? I didn't either!

Maybe that's because it ain't true, but truth is a relative thing when you're one of the assclowns leading an intellectually bankrupt legislature that can't go two months without a self-inflicted hostage crisis. That describes handsome dough-head Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia and the House Majority leader, who thought it'd be a catchy talking point to spread some bullshit that there's $US1.2 million in wasted federal grant money going to shiftless MMO players. Never mind that $US1.2 million isn't piss in the ocean to our $US16 trillion deficit, whether or not it poses any immediate threat to the economy. What Cantor is saying is bullshit.

Eight of his GOP colleagues retweeted that, making Warcraft into as much of a buzzword as anything can be in the age of Twitter. So embarked upon its titular mission and, surprise, found Cantor is just making shit up.

Here's where I really get pissed. The government never paid $US1.2 million for anyone to play World of Warcraft. The study in question cost $US5,000 and that was funded entirely by my alma mater, North Carolina State University, whose Gains Through Gaming Lab we've written about before. In fact, we wrote about this same project, and others at the lab.

FactCheck spoke to the Lab's Anne McLaughlin, who said Cantor's claim is "entirely inaccurate." The lab's study of how MMOs improved cognitive functioning in senior citizens was not at all funded by the National Science Foundation. It's true, however, that the Warcraft research became the precursor to what is a $US1.2 million grant from the NSF, which funds a larger series of studies about cognition, and it part uses the Wii game Boom Blox. Warcraft has nothing to do with it.

Of the $US1.2 million in funding, only a small fraction goes toward compensating study participants, who take four three-hour cognition tests spread out over a year, and play Boom Blox for a total of 15 hours over two weeks.

"The facts simply get in the way of this Republican talking point," says "Paying people $US1.2 million to play video games sounds a lot more outrageous than studying ways to improve the cognitive abilities of seniors. And it misleadingly twists what the grants are all about."

Paying People to Play Video Games []


    Conservative politicians lie? Who would have thought it!

      Uh... not that I want to turn this into a woeful argument, but all politicians lie - not just conservatives.

        That's true. However the Republicans definitely seem to have a deficit on truth.

    Now I don't speak for everyone here, but can we trot that title image out for every post on Kotaku Australia that involves Americans displaying a lack of grey matter or sensationalising some batshit crazy argument that we as Australians would simply sigh and/or facepalm at?

    To be clear, I find these articles most amusing and always worth a read, if only to fuel my own masochistic tendencies.

      Got my vote...... But only if we can flip it upside down and use it for our own Poli's displaying a lack of grey matter :p

      I agree with your first paragraph. I can't relate to your second however.

      We can't even stick to calling consoles "leisure computers", this has no chance.

    A Politician lying about video games to scare people... Am I cynical that I don't find this shocking.

    Sounds like Obama is overpaying for his gold.

    I know the Kotaku mothership is American, but surely Kotaku AU could *localise* the article heading? Pretty sure Canberra is not paying $1mill for people to play WoW.

      Well it is still technically correct.

      Nah, Canberra are just paying millions in New Start and Youth Allowance welfare for lazy gamers to spend on Steam games.

    Heh, i'd be willing to bet there is more than $1 million dollars being paid to people from social security here that do nothing but play WoW all day...
    I know i met plenty of them while i was playing anyway, lol.

    *Wrong article.

    Last edited 25/02/13 8:14 pm

    The sad thing is, this will probably gain traction. Fox will probably pick up on it and their millions of viewers will believe it.

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