Well, here is it is… 

http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Documents/AHRC-Video-Games-Research-Networking-guidance-document.pdf

A call for funding for institutions in the UK to become more actively engaged with research and development into Videogames. It seems like something I should have just instinctively known about. I’m fairly annoyed that I didn’t…

But then, it goes to show two conflicting things: 

Firstly, the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom) are taking an active interest in games from a production and reception standpoint. This is great news for myself and my peers working on videogames across the departments in the UK where the term is no longer a dirty word. Of course, there have been funded (and well funded) initiatives to produce games and and game makers from UK institutions before, but this new call showed a focus on the cultural aspect that is, relatively, new. 

Secondly, the fact I didn’t hear about it, shows how little the AHRC actively filters down into the academia they have so much influence over. There is a lot of room for innovation, simply getting the word out to the relevant parties to get a more varied and interesting response to such calls beyond the standard pleas for more high end equipment with which to create the next big commercial splash. Of course, that’s important, but it seems like too many years have gone by without the substantiation of a reliable body of thought in the UK dedicated to the most important cultural development of the last 50 years. 

All in all, this shows me that for myself and other scholars dedicated to games, there is more ahead: I was worried when the last issue of Gamestudies.org was released with merely 4 article (after taking substantially longer to produce as well); it seems like rather than the final gasping breaths, this is merely the calm before the storm. I think ecovideogame studies could really stand to initiate a new interest into game studies. I think this could be just the right time for everything to fall into place. 

Conor Mckeown
University of Glasgow

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