Video Games Are Art, Says U.S. Government

By Ben Strauss

The games-as-art debate has taken a major step forward with the announcement by the National Endowment of the Arts that video games are now eligible for funding.  The Endowment, set up in 1965 by order of Congress, is able to fund projects of artistic merit.  The 2012 revisions have now specifically named video games as eligible for such considerations.

Specifically, the revisions for Arts in Media guidelines now state “all available media platforms such as the internet, interactive and mobile technologies, digital games, arts content delivered via satellite, as well as on radio and television.”

The news comes as a welcome relief for many who have constantly been fighting against critics such as Roger Ebert.  Game developers are now able to apply for federal grants, albeit while competing against other forms of digital media. 

The actual guidelines for eligibility are “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.”

Grantees can expect funding from $10,000 to $200,000, depending on the platform and complexity of the project.