GamersFirst CEO Joshua Hong is running for Governor this year as Arnold Schwarzenegger is ineligible to run again. The initial reaction on the internet has been skeptical, as many believe this is a PR move designed to get some free advertising. While the nay-sayers do have a point, considering Mr. Hong’s initial campaign pitch (on April 1st) focused on his company and his “Free2Play” idea, I don’t think he should be dismissed so quickly.
Asked if Hong is using a political campaign to simply promote his gaming company, Mukhopadhyay replied, “[The free-to-play business model] is where a lot of the inspiration comes from. It’s what he knows best, and he translates that to what would work best for the government.”
She added, “Yeah, there will probably be people that think ‘Oh, you can’t do that, it’s a gaming company versus a government and that just sounds ridiculous.’ But it’s more about using the experience that he’s acquired and using the inspiration from the GamersFirst company.”
Today’s current video game industry is a multi-billion dollar money-maker… so you cannot deny that any one from the industry would be out of touch, or without influence over the general public. If you read Mr. Hong’s 3 tenants for change and innovation in California, you see he is just applying his technological know-how to politics in general. Mr. Hong’s tenants make sense, like improving education, infrastructure, and government transparency by fulling utilizing modern technology.
This reminds me of President Obama asking Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to design a video game to fix the budget deficit:
The co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s fiscal commission is working on a video game to make plain what it would take to eliminate soaring deficits.
Erskine Bowles has discussed with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer a new game “that would enable anyone with a computer to take a stab at balancing the budget.”
And if you are still skeptical about using video games to save the world, I refer you to Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk “Gaming can make a Better World“.