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NEA Arts in Media Guidelines Now Accepting Games/Other Forms of Media

For those who don’t know, the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) is an independent agency that’s part of the US Federal Government which provides funding/grants for artists. Well, starting FY 2012, new guidelines for submissions have been released, and guess what? Video games, and other forms of modern-age digital entertainment, are going to be eligible.

The Arts in Media category seeks to make the excellence and diversity of the arts widely available to the American public through the national distribution of innovative media projects about the arts and media projects that can be considered works of art.

There is actually quite a bit of an expansion of what will soon be eligible for NEA funding, including:

  • 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.
  • Media projects that can be considered works of art

The kind of funding that will be available include grants for production, development, distribution, etc. as well as works that can be considered arts. These Federal grants usually run between $10,000 and $200,000, depending on the scope, complexity, etc.

This is a big step forward for the gaming industry I think. We might see more artistic games like Flower and Outlands, or, possibly, more narrative-heavy games similar to Meta Gear Solid and Uncharted. I have to agree with what Crave from cnet said:

In all seriousness, the program isn’t likely to fund more literary first-person shooters, but it could lead to the creation of a few really excellent and entertaining apps and games that will be made available to the public for free and allow their creators to get paid. I’m just looking forward to the wine and cheese at new game “openings.”

This not only can provide us with more games that offer a deep connection with their players, but, industry wise, it could help create jobs within the states as well, especially since a broad range of entertainment types will now be eligible, even outside of gaming. It’s a great incentive for developers with these kinds of ideas to get the funding they need for these projects.