Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to Set Aside for a Greater Good

June 26, 2009 -

While President Obama has never expressed a specific anti-video game sentiment that we're aware of, he does often refer to games as something to put aside in order to do something more worthy.

To wit; on Father's Day Obama urged dads to swap their kids' video games for books. In a recent speech to the American Medical Association, Obama said that children should "step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside." In early June Obama suggested that Chinese and Indian children were pulling ahead of American youth because they watch less T.V., play fewer video games and spend more time on their schoolwork.

Video games came up again yesterday as the President and Mrs. Obama spoke at a United We Serve event at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. eNews Park Forest has a transcript, including the President's comment on video games:

On Monday, we launched "United We Serve," our summer service initiative.  It's going to run all the way through our National Day of Service on September 11th.  We want to ask every American to take some time out this summer to do something for others. 

 

Parents, take your kids -- they're going to have fun, they're going to be in sports camps, they're going to be watching TV and playing video games.  Once a week, take them down -- whether it's to a soup kitchen or to volunteer on a community project -- teach them what it means to be a real citizen.  You'll find that actually the kids love it, and it's going to make a lasting impression on them. 


Comments

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Why is everybody defending him? If some random governor said this you'd be burning his ass at the stake.  Don't deny it.

 

He's not your boy, people.  He's not your boy. 

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

"If some random Republican governor said this you'd be burning his ass at the stake."

I think you missed an important word...

Oh, this is pathetic!

Ah, finally, change we can believe in.  

I love how some of you guys are defending him after he said this, but if a Republican said this, everybody would be tearing him limb from limb.

 

Re: Oh, this is pathetic!

Shhh! You're not allowed to criticize a Democrat! Who do you think you are?!?

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

I'll go on record and state that I believe that President Obama is trying to manufacture a public opinion by repeatedly stating that video games are unhealthy a child's physical and mental fitness.  By repeating things as often as he does he continues to state an unproven theory that somehow playing video games is harmful to ones physical and mental wellness.

I believe this is going to lead to much worse things and it might not be EXACTLY what the president wants but I believe this is going to come from the democrats in the following few years.  Obama is going to continue this trend and will continue to request people to put down video games for a while.  Someone needs to step up to him. (ECA, please.)  A possible outcome is people will begin to buy into this bogus theory that video games are harmful to your mental or physical wellness and will begin to repeat this theory in a much less enlightening way.  Beyond the general public's interpretation you have to take into account the politicians that represent you.  Now I can't speak for everyone's representative but I can pretty safely state that politicians commonly twist and skew things.  Now it is not weird to say that video game regulation is a danger in a democratic house and senate.  Remember when Leiberman was a Democrat?  Remember Hillary Clinton's little anti-video game stint?  Enough said.  Video game regulation isn't a democrat/republican divided issue.  It is one both parties have been known to throw into the hypothetical congressional hat from time to time.

So understanding this is understanding that politicians may either misinterpret the president's words and be more influenced to pursue anti-video game regulation or perhaps the president is actually motivated to move toward regulating the game industry on a federal level.  Again, these are extreme opinions I know but they are out of the question and they do seem to make some kind of sense if you think about it for a second.  If you want to push for video game regulation successfully you can't do it without public support.  Examples of this are everywhere.  Just look at every attempt to regulate video games thus far and also look at someone we know all too well, Mr. Jack Thompson (attorney and you're not.. heh).  Now don't think I'm putting Jack Thompson on the same level as Obama because I realize Obama is obviously a smarter individual with a vastly superior speaking ability.  Which is exactly why he scares me a million times more than Jack Thompson ever will.  Jack Thompson is easy to defeat, Obama not so much.

Now before everyone gets to banging their keyboards aggressively to flame me or my view for putting Obama in the same fishbowl as Jack Thompson consider what is happening here.  How many times has Obama mentioned video games?  It seems responsible to some but to others it upsets them and understandably so.  I am reasonably fit, I believe I am reasonably intelligent and I believe I work hard and offer something to society.  I believe without games, I wouldn't be exactly who I am right now.  I played video games a lot in the past and I play them constantly now.  I'm not planning on stopping in the future.  Video games aren't going to melt your mind.  They teach you things.  All of them.  Some more than others but technically they challenge your brain to solve problems and that is not an opinion it is fact.  I guarantee you if video games didn't challenge your brain on some level and reward it with a perception that you're either learning or being rewarded otherwise then they wouldn't be as popular as they are today.  I'll give you a few examples below.

Shooters, be it in the third or first person perspective, are challenging to the intellect and engaging to your mentality.  You're presented with a problem.  You're placed in a 3-D virtual world and are challenged to eliminate the enemy, capture a flag, conquer a territory or detonate a bomb.  That pretty much covers the vast majority of things that shooters do so lets see what we have.  You're navigating an environment and determining the most efficient path to both maintain your safety and to also be sure you have the upper hand when it comes to eliminating the enemy.  You also have to consider where your teammates are work together with them to achieve a common goal.  Players of these games are constantly learning new and more efficient ways to achieve goals and communicate with teammates.  That's engaging to the mind if you ask me.  Learning, engaging and challenging.  That’s healthy.  Subject matter isn't important to a mentally healthy individual because it’s based in fiction and is not real.  So it doesn't really matter if it is violent because a sane individual isn't going to go out and get an M-16 and camp behind a wall or under a table waiting for the next unlucky person to come through the room.

How about strategy games?  Chess, Civilization, hell lets throw Risk in there too.  Digital and non-digital doesn't make a difference in this case.  You're given a particular number of resources.  Chess it is the pieces on the board, and Civilization its much more complicated.  You must manage your resources, such as money, oil, horses, food, iron, plutonium, and all kinds of other things.  You have to decide where you build your cities.  Why are you building your cities there?  What resources do you need now?  What resources will you need later?  What should you try to secure first?  Should you invest in military or buildings to keep your people happy?  What technology should you research and why?  The list goes on and on.  Its an game that challenges you in a very extreme level, especially if your mind is a bit younger than most.  It’s engaging to pretty much the highest level and discretely teaches you a little bit about how a society operates.  Now of course it is still fictional but it does cause the user to question how things work.  It does point them in the direction of important elements of society and historical happenings.   I don't see why having a child or anyone play a game of Civilization is less valuable then having them go outside and play baseball.  Baseball is a great sport, the great American pastime, and having proper exercise is important.  You just have to consider the benefits of gaming.

While games aren't always educational they are always teaching.  You have to learn how to play the game before you play it well.  You have to solve problems and manage resources.  You build things and collect things.  I don't really see the harm.  These are fictional worlds.  They are different than novels but essentially in the same realm as world created by great authors.  It is fiction and not harmful.  Some games are more engaging to the intellect than others and some are more engaging in diverse ways than others.  Beyond that it is the new way for people to have fun.  I use the term new loosely.  It’s newer than radio, television, live music and written text.  It offers its own unique aspect.  The user HAS to interact with them on a higher level than the others.  It is more direct interaction.

Don't buy into this theory that games are harmful.  It’s a tragically flawed theory with very little backing to it.  Even Obama's mentioning of it turns my stomach a bit.  Why target games?  Why not target reality TV?  Why not target the radio that is absolutely flooded with commercials and advertising?  Why even bother targeting anything for that matter?  Why not just let the parents make choices for themselves and their families.  Give them the freedom to do at least that.  Stop trying to influence people and spread this false theory of video games leading to underachievement.  Stop comparing it to fast food and non-engaging reality TV.  Stop saying kids need to go outside more. 

Obama, you don't know a damn thing about what the kids of America are doing.  You could spend a hundred billion dollars doing research and you still wouldn't be able to know if kids should go outside, drink more water or stop playing video games.  No one does.  The only people that actually do know and the only people that SHOULD know are the kids themselves and their families.  Lets leave things up to them and let families take care of their kids.  Obama, you're not a parent.  You're not the father of America.  Stick to you're political career and leave the personal lives of Americans alone.  There isn't a person in this country that deserves to give advice to all the parents and all the children.  There comes a time where you absolutely need to mind you're own business and leave parenting to parents.  This is interfering with families, their perception of games and an entire industry of professionals and consumers.  Oh yea, professionals which have families of their own.  I won't speak for them because for all I know many of them might agree with Obama.  But still that isn't the point.  The point is there shouldn't be a public representative meddling in this manner.

 -TJLK

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

*applaudes*

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Do you honestly think anyone is going to actually READ that?

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...


 

With all the typos and poor grammar implementation, no.  I probably should have edited it.  =)

I simply wanted to unleash some frustration.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Set aside for the 'greater good' of socialism?

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

New Government take over.... Raising kids.

 

That idiot.

 

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

I actually agree with Obama (shocker). Of course, its only really because I'm in a 12-hour band camp schedule for 2 weeks, and need an excuse to get a water break every once in a while. Because just keeling over, puking, and then collapsing unconsious doen't qualify me.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

I'm no Obama fan BUT he's not saying video games are evil, he's lumping in televsion also and he just seems to be talking about moderation. He's not saying kids shouldn't be playing video games altogether, just not all the time. You know, let them play for an hour then kick their butts outside to play. Some gamers are making a mountain out of a molehill here.

  "No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

I think he is just a little out of touch with the reality here.  If we could get some honest organization to take a real census of gamer demographics it would not only shock him, the congress but I think the game companies as well.  

See this is where representing the gaming community as mainly just very young men and boys has turned to do harm to the gaming community as a whole.

 

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Anyone got any any change? Cause Obama sure don't!

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Oh he's got change; he took it from the taxpayers and used it to take his wife to dinner in New York.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

How DARE he eat! Next he'll be wanting clothing too!

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

He's welcome to eat and have clothes, but he should pay for them with his OWN money like everyone else.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

By "with his OWN money" I assume you mean he should pay out of his salary? Which is paid for by the taxpayer. Because he's the President.

The lights are on but Mr. Brain has long since departed hasn't it?

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Haha, you're cute. Insults always work when you can't come up with anything else.

I do mean out of his own salary. His salary is his money given to him in exchange for his work as president. It was tax money, it is now his money. However, I doubt he payed for all the travel expenses and such out of his own money (salary or previous savings). We pay him enough for his work as president, he shouldn't need to take other tax money for leisure purposes. It's the same as a CEO taking the company jet for his vacation; there's no reason the company should have to pay his travel expenses for something not related to his work. When he's not working, he should pay for his stuff and travel expenses with his own money just like everyone else.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

I don't understand why Gamepolitics reports on it EVERYTIME he says the same thing. This is a talking point for him. He will probably repeat this several times at future appearences. Although I guess it can be tough getting lots of new stories for the site everyday.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Why is serving the poor/helping others such a worthwhile activity? Next thing you know Obama is going to urge workers of the world to unite and overthrow their existing governments. 

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

....wut? 

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Why is helping others a worthwhile activity...?

Are you for real?

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Obama needs to stfu and stop telling us how to live.  People are going to do what they want no matter what he says in his speeches.  I can respect him for wanting to change the country for the better, but that is idealistic and not realistic.  It boils down to an individual decision that everyone is free to make for themselves, as we all know.

And he wonders why the right accuses him of being socialist?  And why single out video games?  If you are going to preach to the country about such wide reaching topics for the "greater good", where's the speaches about smoking, alchohol, drugs, pornography, etc?

Messages from him like this will fall on deaf ears.  Mr. Obama, you have bigger fish to fry. 

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

1.

"they're going to have fun, they're going to be in sports camps, they're going to be watching TV and playing video games." I don't see no singling out of videogame here. If you do, that's some impressive selective reading right there. In fact, he's referring to self-entertainment as a whole.

2.

"Once a week". That sounds mighty much like a SUGGESTION there, and not an order. After all, it's a promotion for a VOLUNTEER effort, not a direct command from "Ye Bama O Mighty" on how you should think. And hey, a single act of philantrophy once in a while won't kill you. ;)

 

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Look for more of this, the more Obama wants to deflect focus on him not doing the stuff we voted him in to do.

To me, Obama looks more like Bush every day.  If he can scare us every day and tell us that he's working to save kids, he'll have us nice and subdued by 2012, even if he hasn't accomplished anything he set out to do.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

In his defense..

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/

He's kept more promises than he's broken, and he is working on plenty more. The rest of them, in the "No Action" category, are just ones that he hasn't had a chance to get to, considering the more pressing matters of health care, his inherited wars, the economy, and other things.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Erm... as commander in chief of the US military he can stop "Don't ask, don't tell" right now.

Oh, and don't get too hopeful about healthcare.  It's already looking like it's going to fail, and even if it doesn't, it's going to be a watered-down plan, nowhere near as good as that of Canada or most European nations.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

"Nowhere near as good as that of Canada or most European nations"? Have you talked to any Canadians or Europeans? The ones I've talked to weren't extremely impressed with the programs or the taxes it took to fund them.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Speaking AS a European, you're full of crap.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Well then, you're the first European I've heard who liked the program. The ones I've heard just complained that they lost over half their income to taxes to pay for all these programs.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Then those 'Europeans' exist only in your head.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

No, they exist in the Netherlands and send over 50% of their paychecks to the government. They're my girlfriend's relatives.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

I don't know who you are talking to then. Every European, Canadian, and Austrailian I have discussed the topic of health care with has thought the US was insane for not following the system they have in place. When I was in Germany, I actually saw the effects of their healthcare system first hand and was quite impressed.

I got almost 35% of my check going to the government alread, if they take a little more so that me and mine can go the doctor's office when we need to instead of when we HAVE to, I would make the adjustment just fine.

Thing is, I don't think people should be allowed to participate in it unless they are:

A) Working a full time job

B) Retired

C) A full time student

D) A minor

or

E) Disabled

 

Just my opinion on the matter though.

"

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Now that sort of program wouldn't bother me much, although I have the suspicion that the US government would still find a way to muck it up and provide worthless healthcare for exorbitant taxes (we seem to be really good at spending lots of money on nothing; look at our education system). Still, if they could set up something decent for a decent price, I wouldn't mind, although I still would prefer just not to have the taxes taken and to get my own healthcare with that money.

However, I doubt that program would ever fly; it wouldn't help the jobless or the wellfare freeloaders (not that everyone on wellfare is a freeloader, but plenty of people are rather fishy). Our government really needs to crack down on the people who leech off the system and toss them out on their butts, but we don't seem to have the balls to do that.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

"his inherited wars"? If I became President, I wouldn't wait until tomorrow to pull ALL unneeded troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other foreign countries. I'd do it by this afternoon. This situation is just another Vietnam, because Obama doesn't have the balls or the smarts to do what is needed. He'll just skirt around the issue for years until someone else gets elected.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

The problem with making such claims, much in the same way ANY politicians claims that THEY will make promises to do magical things, is that they, alone, cannot do squat.  There is always someone or a group of someones who can turn your super plan of world saving efforts into so much scrap or blow them into oblivion altogether.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Wow.. At the risk of sounding conservative.. You really are a moron.. Yes, lets just go ahead and pull all troops out of all foriegn countries right now. Lets leave Afghanistan (where the real enemies are) and go ahead and make every sacrifice every soldier made in the past few years a moot point.

Iraq is pretty much done, and Obama is actually nearing completion of the Troop Withdrawl, there, as far as I know.

I appreciate Peace and diplomacy as much as you do. I hated the Bush era shoot first, ask questions later style of foriegn policy. However, even the most ignorant of the anti-war crowd has got to realize that certain situations DO call for armed combat, no matter how bad the reality of war is. Obama realizes this, and is in the process of directing America's armed forces towards the real enemies, rather than focusing on a war that was initiated under false pretenses and that lasted too long.

You are the kind of anti-war zealot that gives the rest of the Liberals a bad name with regards to foriegn policy.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

"However, even the most ignorant of the anti-war crowd has got to realize that certain situations DO call for armed combat, no matter how bad the reality of war is."

You mean like when your nation is invaded by a foreign power of dubious moral integrity on what appear to be flimsy manufactured pretenses?

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

I disagreed with the war, but I think that pulling our troops immediately and suddenly would only cause problems and render any possible positive effect made there useless.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

I would agree 100% with you about Iraq. However, if you are directing that comment towards afghanistan, you are 100% wrong.

While I despise the idea of using Al Queda as a politcal tool, like the Repubs do, I am also wary of of discounting the idea of Organized Terror in general, and Afghanistan is currently suffering from a large population of Al Queda, and they do pose a real threat to the Western World.

Again, Im not a fan of wars, either, but in this case, Obama is doing the right thing in increasing the number of American troops there.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Define "Unneeded".

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

You expected any less from a politician?

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Question.

Does the Obama family and their children get to take part in this too?  Or are they too important to feed the poor?  And I mean really take part, not just the do usual cop out photo-op and then disappear like so many politicians love to do.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

 I'll assume you haven't seen the whole speech. There is a particular moment when they volunteered for this (Wait a second, volunteered, this is volunteer work. Well I'll be, looks like you can continue to do nothing).

I'd love to post the picture of a dog barking at a sprinkler that is shooting right into the dogs mouth, but I'm not too keen on hyperlinks.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Oh my, his children made a hollow and meaningless gesture on TV?  Surely, that equates to doing actual volunteer work!  Oh.  Wait.  No, it doesn't.

Like I said before, I want to see him actually do some fucking volunteer work.  And real work too, not just the five minutes for his photo-op bullshit that he'll probably go for.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

 Me thinketh thou protest too much and hath not protested at any lengths last time. What would you want him do? Clear brush? Ooh, I know, go on vacation.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Methinks 'methinks' wouldst have been a more approrpiate phrasing for thine earlier comment.

However, I don't care what he does, so much as that he actually does it.  If you work on a habitat for humanity home, you can expect to be there from 9 or 10 to 3 or 5.  I don't doubt for a minute that the 'first family' will go and spend all of five minutes having their picture taken, and then leave to go back to the air conditioned White House.  That's not volunteering.  That's just sneaky and manipulative (which already seems to be common in this administration, so no big surprise).  And to suggest that other families, families who don't get their livelihood paid for by, say, the American Taxpayer, need to take a day to 'give back to the community', but not do it yourself, is hypocritical.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

You seem kind of overly critical of Obama. It's fine to disagree with his policies and whatnot but you take every opportunity to voice extreme distaste about anything he says or does. It kind of casts you in a bad light, no offense.

Re: Once Again, Obama Refers to Video Games As Something to ...

Meh, it's no different than half the world was with Bush. He just happens to be a vocal minority instead of majority like with Bush, so he looks worse since he doesn't have media backing.

 
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