This week is GDC, the annual Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco. Highlights of the conference have been huge progress in virtual reality technology, as well as an emphasis on making games and tech fields more accessible for women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks.
Teens Want More Female Heroes in Games
Also at GDC, a study exploring teenagers’ attitudes toward games was unveiled. It found a few interesting pieces of data: girls were much more invested than boys were in playing games where they were able to play as as their own gender. And when asked, 86% of boys said that they would like to see more girls playing games, and were invested in seeing more female heroes in games.
Unreal Engine 4 is Free
The Unreal Engine 4 is now free! This powerful game engine will hopefully allow more people access to the world of game development, including young people interested in making their own games.
YouTube for Kids
Do your kids love YouTube? (Most do.) Google is introducing the app YouTube Kids, which will help young people navigate the video hosting site safely and more easily.
No More Stars for Educational Games
A joint study from the University of Michigan and New York University, called the “A-Game Project,” has found that we have some work to do when it comes to using games as teaching tools, particularly in the teacher assessment area. Points and stars, for instance, a common reward for completion of a puzzle or activity, were of little use to teachers.
Anti-Teen Dating Violence Game Challenge Open for Submissions
The 2015 Life.Love. Game Design challenge is open for submissions from now until June 1. Hosted by Jennifer Ann’s Group, the challenge focuses on prevention, education, and spreading awareness of teen dating violence using video games. Contestants must be 13 years or older, but there are no limits on country of origin.
Austin Education Game Jam
The 2015 Austin Education Game Jam is happening next week, starting on March 7. The jam will emphasize learning and teaching during the creative process, as well as making educational games as an end result. This effort follows President Obama’s announcement that there will be greater focus on teaching kids coding and digital literacy.
The 2015 Games for Change awards nominees have been announced! Check out the list for some great games that are leaders in social and technological progress.