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Obama backs games in education

LittleBigPlanet to play an important role.

US President Barack Obama has revealed a new education initiative that will enlist the help of games like LittleBigPlanet to get kids interested in science and maths.

The Government is throwing $4bn at the Educate to Innovate scheme and has attracted the help of not only Sony but also the Entertainment Software Association, MacArthur Foundation and Microsoft.

"I'm committed to moving our country from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math education over the next decade," stated Obama during a launch event for the project (as reported by Gamasutra). He name-dropped Sony as an "industry leader" during the speech.

LittleBigPlanet will host a Game Changers competition where participants are challenged to create LBP levels with "new gameplay experiences that enhance STEM [science, technology, engineering, maths] principles".

"We're thrilled by the opportunity to participate and support the Game Changers challenge announced today," responded SCEA boss Jack Tretton. "It casts a huge spotlight on the innovative medium that is videogames and digital entertainment.

"It also embodies for us what we see everyday: amazing things can happen when you provide the right tools and environment, combine it with great technology and put it in the hands of really creative people."

The ESA will join with Games for Change and The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop (among others) to organise the STEM National Video Game Competition. This calls for the creation of educational browser-based games aimed at people aged between four and 16 years.

ESA boss Michael Gallagher said it was "a very good day for the gaming industry".

"Our industry's lifeblood is the energy and innovation of new, emerging developers," he told Kotaku. "To create the next generation's epic titles and incredibly immersive storylines, we need America's youth to have strategic and analytic thinking skills along with complex problem solving abilities.

"It is my hope that it will produce games that will have a lasting impact on the STEM skills our nation's students so desperately need.