Microsoft may make budget-balancing game for US government

Bipartisan commission has reportedly contacted Steve Ballmer about making a game that could let any US citizen suggest ways to deflate ballooning national debt.

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Whatever one's political perspective may be, there's no denying that the ballooning US debt is a large and complex problem. Now, USA Today reports that a presidential commission studying how to stop the budget deficit from growing out of control is trying a novel approach: video games.

Given that Washington hasn't been able to figure out a way to balance the budget, a presidential commission is willing to let gamers try.

According to the national daily, committee co-chair Erskine Bowles, who served as White House chief of staff from 1997-1998, has asked Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about the possibly of creating a game that would allow anyone to come up with a solution for the budget deficit.

Though the gameplay mechanics of the proposed title are unclear, former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey, who headed a similar commission in 1994, thinks that such a title could "go viral" and generate new ideas from outside Washington, D.C.

If Microsoft ends up developing a virtual budget balancer, it won't be the first government-backed non-entertainment game. In 2007, the Homeland Security department began developing a game to help train Border Patrol and Customs Enforcement officers. The department also commissioned the game Zero Hour: America's Medic to instruct emergency responders from Virtual Heroes, a company that makes training simulations using game tech. (Click here for a video demonstration.)

However, the majority of games developed by the government are for the military. Since 2002, the US Army has spent $32.8 million to develop PC shooter America's Army to use as a recruiting tool. Another Army-training simulation was developed into the full-blown 2004 commercial release Full Spectrum Warrior by the now-all-but-defunct Pandemic Studios.

Discussion

209 comments
NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

@Timstuff I feel sorry for you, goodbye.

Timstuff
Timstuff

@NeilCardiff LOL, yeah that means a lot coming from the guy who started this little hissy fit over a simple joke and had to make things personal. Maybe you should be learn to be less sensitive about people making fun of your dear leader, because you're going to be hearing a lot of it in the next few years.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

@Timstuff Unfortunately your brain is faulty. More precisely, your memory. If you'ld like to read your earlier reply to me you'll see that you're nothing but an annoyed troll throwing insults at people who disagree with you. Please grow up.

Timstuff
Timstuff

@NeilCardiff Amazing just how inflamed you get just for someone pointing out that Obama likes to waste money. I mean really, what has he done for you to inspire such blind and fervent loyalty?

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

@Timstuff For your information both my parents are dead and I even manage to pay my own way. But thanks anyway for showing what little grip you have of the real world.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

bennae66
bennae66

@ekultus white noise everywhere.

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

THat is so funny. We could also use it in Quebec' province, please send it over to our parliement when completed!! we are head-deep into debt, thanks to non-sense spending and corruption! hurray.

ekultus
ekultus

@bennae66 It was a line from the original TMNT movie. Basically you're somewhat aware of the world around you, unlike most of these jokers. We are mostly alone in our thinking that knowledge of this kind is cool and/or worth learning about.

Engerys
Engerys

I think this is a good idea, it will help the population to better learn that governing isn't easy, and i hope MS makes the game educational and fun by showing pros and cons of balancing a budget.

bennae66
bennae66

@ekultus to be honest i dont know what you mean by 'chucker' but i certainly have very strong feelings on the subject. (that much is probably obvious) and it would appear this monetary debate is white noise, as are most things

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

I did say this would open a can of worms whether people believe my other comments or not.

yang4200
yang4200

no wonder the war on iraq is a lost cause.. we have idiot going to the army who have combat xp from videogame.. seriously guy I respect that your defending the country but i dont even remember iraqi being a threat to this country.. and the reason for invading their country have change twice since it first started.. please vaule your life a little more.. kinda make me wanna join the army now since I have codmw2 exp i was prestige 4times!!...

Timstuff
Timstuff

@NeilCardiff Maybe when you go out into the real world where you can't just put everything on mom and dad's charge card, you'll understand the importance of fiscal responsibility.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

@Timstuff you need to stop watching Fox News and join the rest of us in reality.

Timstuff
Timstuff

_ @.@ _ ======= See that? It's the money you could have saved if you didn't vote for Obama.

ekultus
ekultus

@bennae66 ahhhh a fellow chucker eh?

bennae66
bennae66

i never thought id see the day on gamespot there would be a story and a forum on debt. does noone here know how the monetary system works? look at your currency very closely. notice the note says: 'this note is legal tender for all debts' your currency used to be backed by gold. now it is created out of nothing, and debt left behind. if there were no debt, there would be no 'legal tender' would there?

PandaBear86
PandaBear86

Let Activision make the game. I'm sure their "stimulus package" DLC will do wonders.

greasemonkey42
greasemonkey42

I encourage everyone to watch the film/documentary I.O.U.S.A. It's a very accessible documentary that is about the problem of the US debt. Bottom line is the USA has lost means to reduce this deficit - a country that is based on over-consumption is heading to the gutter when their 3rd biggest export is essentially its waste (scrap metal) I'm beginning to lose faith that the country will survive this century

LeMarfanz
LeMarfanz

Wow, this is great news! it looks like washington doesn't need to look any further than this gamespot videogame website post to solve all its problems, looks like you guys have got all the answers! great job everybody, you're the real patriots!

Orihime89
Orihime89

@ jedediahpelland Check your facts and actually see what the tea party stands for

acsam12304
acsam12304

@Megavideogamer Washington DC knows how to fix the national debit. but if they fix the national debit they wont get richer and they wont get anything from it and they will have to actually work for us the, people of the USA

W3En
W3En

Boring. Let me know when Halo:Reach comes out. Theres enough bureaucracy in the United States. I don't want it in my entertainment too.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

That would be interesting if someone from the "middle of nowhere" managed to solve the National Debt. Since Washington cannot do it maybe Harold from Kerryville, Texas or Joe from Eureka, California can?

atopp399
atopp399

Knowing our wonderful government they will give Microsoft a $500 million dollar budget on the game and say it will create 100,000 jobs.

Topperfalkon
Topperfalkon

Why didn't they ask Positech to make it? Because Cliff Harris is British? But he's already made the reasonably successful Democracy and Democracy 2 games...

bennae66
bennae66

actually; forget my zeitgeist recommendation. lets start with language that we all understand: games. start by playing deus ex. then if you find that facinating, heres a riddle for you, since gamers are a resourceful and problem solving lot. (well a good percentage) are you ready? here we go: Modern Money Mechanics. IMF. World Bank. if you can solve this riddle you get the highest of kudos. not only that, you may wake up too. hint: wikipedia is your friend

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Can I make a suggestion? Remove the entire US military from Afghanistan and Iraq. That'll save a few billion dollars.

Darth_DuMas
Darth_DuMas

Xbox 360, 'it only does everything' ;)... jokes, i'm kidding, not tryin to rile [PS] fans.

AlphaCommando
AlphaCommando

This sounds like an interesting game. /sarcasm

monson21502
monson21502

they took prayer out of public schools and let fashion, and music vidoes make our children wear skimpy shorts and dance in ways that would make a salor blush.. so many preggo 12-15 year olds its not funny. we go from the baby boomers to the baby breddiers in the blink of a eye.

monson21502
monson21502

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sammoth
sammoth

@psx_warrior :"Their master is Satan himself, and that's a fact." Ok im going to say this once and prolly get it removed but, you are a NUT.

monson21502
monson21502

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

monson21502
monson21502

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

bennae66
bennae66

@psx_warrior; i am also awake, tho i am not a christian, nor am i american. it is not satan himself, that is a copout. the powers that be, they are the corrupt ones. god and satan have nothing to do with the worlds problems. its man. it always has been and always will be. bringing gods and devils into this clouds the issue and masks the real problem.

bennae66
bennae66

until then we can plug and band aid all we want and nothing will change. what will happen is there will be an amero currency to replace us dollars, canadian dollars and south american currency much like the euro. then the next step is a global, one world currency. this will happen because the people will demand it.

bennae66
bennae66

debt is built in to the monetary system. money = debt and debt = money. with no debt there is no money. the answer is simple tho i cant see it happening: abolish the monetary system and replace it with a different kind of economy. an alternative has been proposed and its called THE VENUS PROJECT. if you wish to know more and truly solve the problems of the world, start by watching zeitgeist.

monson21502
monson21502

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

prioritymail
prioritymail

What kind of people would this game benefit? Surely the people in charge of the economy wouldn't take this game seriously

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

how about not letting Presidents leave out the cost of wars, especially if he starts one, or two of his own..... that's when out budget really ballooned, when the cost of war was rightfully put back in it.

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

this is a really good idea because I'll bet you my left arm that a lot of people on LIVE can do it better then it has been done in the past 35 years by our government who seems to always look out for the big guy with the money........ without all the special interest groups tugging at your pant leg and no one to give favors to, balancing the budget should be a piece of cake.

psx_warrior
psx_warrior

I try to stand up for everyone on these forums, as well as humanity, and I get thumbsed down seven times. This is reality. A reality most people don't seem to know about. I'm not a nut. I'm a Christian, and a person that's awake. I know what's really going on in the world, and this game will do nothing to shrink the budget deficit. The globalists of the world will see to that. Their master is Satan himself, and that's a fact.

cloudy14
cloudy14

Then again it's an original idea, mainly because no one is stupid enogh to waste money dveleping a game that may or may not help them save some