- You know, it's an interesting point - does Microsoft care because it's the right thing to do right now, or do they care because they really believe? Either way, it works, and Gamasutra covered the fourth annual Games For Change conference in New York this week, which is building up quite a head of steam, and talked to Microsoft's Jeff Bell about their Xbox 360 Games for Change Challenge.

The competition itself, which begins this August "...challenges university students around the world to design a game around the theme of global warming... Students will design their entries using Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio Express, and the winners, announced next August in Paris, will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to present their games to Microsoft’s games management team for possible inclusion as a download on Xbox Live Arcade."

And Bell makes some good points: "We wanted to use XNA Express, which is a free download, as a slow but steady move towards democratization of our gaming industry. We wanted to focus with Games for Change on something that was dealing with an issue or challenge of the real world, and we chose the environment, because it’s such a large issue in popular culture right now." So it _is_ a little of both, it turns out - and it's really none the worse for that. You rock, Al Gore.