Break out the bubbly. Video Games are now officially considered art by the United States government. The National Endowment for the Arts, a governmental program which issues grants to individuals (or companies) pursing artistic endeavors, has adjusted their definition of “art” to now include interactive games. This new definition will go into effect in 2012, where video game developers will be able to apply for governmental funding for up to $200K.
Here’s the NEA’s official new definition for art, provided by Forbes. After you finishing reading, let us all have a moment of silence and weep a single tear. Our industry is finally being recognized for the artistic expression that it is.
“Projects may include high profile multi-part or single television and radio programs (documentaries and dramatic narratives); media created for theatrical release; performance programs; artistic segments for use within an existing series; multi-part webisodes; installations; and interactive games. Short films, five minutes and under, will be considered in packages of three or more.”
This comes as a definite F-You to Mr. Roger Ebert, who has been very vocal on his stance about video games not being art. That debate has raged ever since, but it seems an unlikely hero in the US government has risen to the aid of the gaming industry and issued the official stamp of artistic acceptance.
As an added note, this grant business will probably not affect the day to day business of developers creating AAA titles. While $200K is a lot of money, those types of games cost millions upon millions of dollars. The $200K would be a drop in the well. The indie development crowd will be the ones to most likely take full advantage of this deal.