So is there a case for seeing two-way gaming as central to a definition of broadband? The cooperation/leadership argument may not be the strongest point, at least not if the implication is that games make gamers more helpful to society. A Pew Internet and American Life study released last September on Teens, Video Games and Civics
concluded that almost all teens (97%) play computer, Web, portable, or console games for sure. And over a quarter of these kids play with others connected to the Internet.
But Pew also found that the most common civic behavior
teens displayed while playing was helping others learn the game of the moment. Linking the play experience to moral, ethical, or social issues took place much less frequently. "There is little evidence to support the idea that playing video games, in general, is associated with a vibrant civic or political life," the survey concluded.
On the other hand, Pew did notice that teens tended to link gaming to civic issues more often when playing together in the same physical place, rather than when playing alone or with others online. Enjoying games together, they were more likely to look online for information about politics, raise money for charity, or try to persuade someone how to vote in an election.
But if the civic case for including games in a definition of broadband is still uncertain, the argument that they boost demand for the service seems stronger. Pew's latest report
says that one out of every four "economic users" of the Internet—folks who go online to look for jobs or keep track of the economy—also go there to relax by watching a video or playing a game. This is especially true for young users (18-29), half of whom reported playing on the 'Net on a regular basis. If speeding up the rate of broadband adoption requires stimulating demand as well as availability, extending gaming capacity to a definition of broadband becomes that much more credible. Read More