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World of Whitehouse: Obama's FCC Transition Team

You can't make history with a Wii Remote. Azeroth, however, might be a different story.

Here I was, hoping that with the election being over, we'd never write a news story about presidential politics ever again. I figured we could get back to the important debates of our time, like whether Haohmaru could beat Chris Jericho in a fight. But then President-elect Obama had to go and appoint a couple of MMO/virtual world enthusiasts to run his FCC transition team. Kevin Werbach and Susan Crawford will serve as co-chairs on the team.

According to GigaOM, this team will be charged with providing policy info as well as advising on budgetary and personnel matters.

Werbach, according to his blog, is in a pair of World of Warcraft guilds, one of which is full of "academics and other thinkers who study and write about virtual worlds." Well that sure sounds like a party.

Crawford, for her part, considers herself a "huge fan of Second Life," according to a 2004 blog post.

I'm seriously torn on this one, folks. On one hand, the more informed the government gets about what games actually are, the less we'll see them demonized and scapegoated by policymakers who have no idea what they're actually talking about. On the other, most of the people I've met who claim to be really into virtual worlds like Second Life come across as totally creepy technohippies who just want to, like, feel the community tech-vibe, man. Either that or they're looking for some kind of messed-up avatar sex, which is probably worse.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
34 Comments
Posted by Jeff
Here I was, hoping that with the election being over, we'd never write a news story about presidential politics ever again. I figured we could get back to the important debates of our time, like whether Haohmaru could beat Chris Jericho in a fight. But then President-elect Obama had to go and appoint a couple of MMO/virtual world enthusiasts to run his FCC transition team. Kevin Werbach and Susan Crawford will serve as co-chairs on the team.

According to GigaOM, this team will be charged with providing policy info as well as advising on budgetary and personnel matters.

Werbach, according to his blog, is in a pair of World of Warcraft guilds, one of which is full of "academics and other thinkers who study and write about virtual worlds." Well that sure sounds like a party.

Crawford, for her part, considers herself a "huge fan of Second Life," according to a 2004 blog post.

I'm seriously torn on this one, folks. On one hand, the more informed the government gets about what games actually are, the less we'll see them demonized and scapegoated by policymakers who have no idea what they're actually talking about. On the other, most of the people I've met who claim to be really into virtual worlds like Second Life come across as totally creepy technohippies who just want to, like, feel the community tech-vibe, man. Either that or they're looking for some kind of messed-up avatar sex, which is probably worse.
Staff
Posted by Kinarion

Well, there goes the smooth transition.  Werbach is lost to Wrath.

Posted by LordAndrew

Haohmaru could totally beat Chris Jericho in a fight.

Also, what?!

Posted by diz

Messed up avatar sex does sound grim, especially with this new NXE update.

Posted by Endogene

Red LIght Center. Why do i remember that name? Wonder if it has a game page.

Posted by sociald1077

Avatar sex is da-bomb!

As for MMO gamers being in charge of the FCC? Maybe we will see more of a european additude toward language on TV.

Shit should be perfectly allowable on network TV.

Posted by ZmillA

messed up avatar sex is the purest kind.

Posted by Kyle

Eh. It's a step in the right direction i suppose.

Posted by Geno

So the government's actually getting the smarter part of the population involved in policy making? Nice.

Posted by LostCause

Well Jeff, I spend a lot of time in Second Life over the last two years and I can assure you that not every one is totally weird. Probably 70% are weird in one way or another but the rest are sane. I am sure there are a few within that 30% who are "smart" enough to be appointed to this position. Lets just hope that these two are in that "few."

Posted by TooWalrus

But playing catch could save the world, so I don't know what to think. Let's CATCH!

Online
Posted by super_machine

If goventment officials start putting more time into mmorpgs, nothing will get done... hmmm

Posted by Psynapse

Haohmaru would definitly win... hands down.

Posted by raggedglory

"will server as co-chairs." touche sir

also, Jericho would win but only if the match took place in 1999-early 2000's

Posted by Sanj

Who's up for a messed up avatar orgy?

Posted by Kontrapunkt

Hahahah i love the FCC Party time!

Posted by lamegame621

avatar sex...oh god.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

There are some freaks on Second Life, but there are also casual community people, too.  I guess, I never went there.  But if William Gibson can give a virtual talk there, it can't be all bad.

Edited by Linkyshinks

If those Second Life freaks start making policies akin to those found in that game, we are all doomed. Still, I do find it fascinating that someone in politics plays such a game.

I recall Obama's comment on GTA4, it was a sensible one I recall.


EDIT:

Ippon!, Haohmaru.





Posted by Media_Master

weird

Posted by Milkman

But in the fight, does Chris Jericho have a weapon? Or are they both going on their instincts here?

Posted by albedos_shadow

So, penis-bombing to be made legal?

Posted by daniel_beck_90

hope things get better

Posted by Linkyshinks
Milkman said:
"But in the fight, does Chris Jericho have a weapon? Or are they both going on their instincts here?"

Dude is screwed if he ain't got no Bushido blade. Haohmaru will draw you in close and punish Chris with a Crescent Moon Slash

Posted by Coldbrand

Sure is Jeff making ignorant blanket statements at the end of this article in here.

Posted by Bellum

I don't see how it makes much of a difference. I really doubt it was a contributing factor. ;)

Also, fuck the FCC.

Posted by Snail

That was... unexpected.

Posted by Stevokenevo

LostCause mentioned that some people arent wierdos on second life,....here's two that are

On topic:  I dont know how relevant their gaming knowledge will have to do with their jobs.  Hopefully its some kind of step in the right direction though, as long as Kevin Werbach actually gets away from his 'virtual intellectuals' and does his job!  I doubt "sorry im late i was raiding a dungeon" will be a sufficient excuse in the whitehouse. 

Edited by GravityParade

Mr. President, So far, in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, my dwarf has had to dig through poop, to find coveted objects, on 3 seperate occasions. One of said times, was human fecal material, one wolf, and the other being bat excrement (make the batshit crazy joke in your head). My point being, what is the administration's stance on virtual poop?, and does the FCC have any plans on limiting the species, of said poop, to only non-human strains? Thank you.

Posted by Giantkitty

Maybe we can get the Second Life avatars can pay off all the debts we have.

Whenever I hear of Second Life, I always hear it's this big empty place, how does it stay afloat?

But I'm sure like any other place, it has its good and bad people

Posted by Chytynous

People in positions of power who play MMOGs is a nice start, but we won't truly have arrived until someone on Obama's team is a Gears addict.

Posted by ferrarimanf355

When I think of WOW, the first thing that comes to mind is
LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEROY JEEEEEEEEEEENKINS!

Is that a bad thing?

Edited by HitNRun

As a WoW player, I have to seriously question how prepared someone who's been playing WoW is to implement or recommend policies on any topic that requires them to follow the real world outside of refreshing the same 4 blogs.

Posted by boatorious

I play video games so I can shoot zombies, which I can't do in real life.

I never quite understand why people feel the need to join "virtual worlds" to socialize.  Can't we just do that in real life?

And don't get me started on the people who complain that all games are "violent."  I have this great idea for a video game.  You spend all your time in the game helping homeless people.  Of course you really need to min/max (it's a real grind) so you'll have no time to help actual homeless people.  But, boy, what a constructive and socially aware game!