- Religion and Philosophy
Christian Computer Games: What's Available
One of the comments below a Christian video game trailer on YouTube said: "How come all Christian video games are so lame?" Let's try answering that question, then giving a little bit of information on what is available.
Video game industry is one of the fastest growing industries in America today. And in the future it will only continue to grow. Why are there almost no Christian video games? I wouldn't say I know for sure, but I have a couple of theories.
One reason would be due to the fact that the Christian video game industry is about 20 years younger than the mainstream video game industry. That would explain why Christian video games look so primitive. Look at
secular video games from 20 years ago, and you'll see that they were
pretty primitive then too.That kind of gives Christian game developers some slack, but not too much. Today we have better technology available than they did 20 years ago. So higher quality games are attainable... if not for the second reason.
Another reason would be that the Christian market operates as a niche market. Why its a niche market when most people in civilized countries consider themselves Christian, puzzles me. But that's another discussion. As typical with any niche market, it lags after the mainstream market a number of years. Proponents of new ideas who are successful at breaking their idea into the market, become the primary source for the product or service in that area, and due to lack of competition, take the main market. People that follow in that field can sometimes take over the market, if they are really good. But usually there is no way they can know more about the field than the originator. So they choose to tailor the service to a more narrow group of clients bound together by some social characteristic. They are able to take a small portion of the market that way, but a much smaller portion than the main guy on the block. So the revenues would be smaller, yielding less money for re-investment.
The Christian video game industry primarily tailors to a group of parents who don't like to see their kids play violent video games, and are looking for a Christian alternative. But that market is still very small. I know that first-hand, because I tried selling Christian video games on eBay. If you are going to spend several millions of dollars to create a video game, you would need a ready-to-buy client base when you finish. If there is no client base, you could afford to lose only so many millions of dollars, before you quit. Of course, video game developers don't usually pay for development costs out of their own pocket. There are venture capitalists who are willing to invest money into a project, if there is a big chance they will get more money out of their investment, in the years to come. So, obviously, they would not invest money if they don't see a market for a product.
Probably, the Christian game company with the most attempts at the market share would be the Left Behind Games Inc. If I'm correct, they are the first Christian game company able to get their games into a major retail chain, which would be Wal Mart. Their test in 100 stores in Texas, gave positive results, according to their CEO. Last time I checked, the game is now distributed through 800 Wal Mart stores nationwide. The main complaint from atheists is that the game is poorly made. And a complaint from two Christians groups is that the game is based on shaky theology. But overall, Wal Mart said people buy these games and they haven't received much complaints, so they are continuing with the distribution deal. There are not a lot of them, but they are out there, and more are coming.
One last reason, why Christians might not be involved in the game industry much, is that their overuse can lead to serious mania problems and health issues. But the fact is, video games are here, and people play them. And a lot of games are already spiritual in nature, playing-the-dark-side-kind-of-spiritual.
Video games allow us to experience worlds we might never experience in real life. Today, even military, medical, and other types of institutions use video games to train students before they try something in the real world or on a real human being. Video games can be used for educational purposes. Its time for a real Christian alternative in the video game industry.
To stay updated on the latest developments in the Christian video game industry, visit games.intellichristian.com