U.S. Mission to Japan Opening Competition to Integrate Issues of Social Importance to the United States, Japan, and Indo-Pacific Region Through Video Games

Feb 7, 2024 9:28:27 AM / by Mari Crocitto

U.S.-Japan Video Game Contest Tackles Key Social Issues-2

Video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), are one of the most beloved pastimes in the United States, keeping over 62 percent of adults and 76 percent of kids engaged through various gaming mediums (mobile, console, PC, VR, etc).1 Also, a majority of players have stated the various benefits of playing video games, including expanding social circles through a welcoming and inclusive environment, introducing people to new friends and relationships, creating accessible experiences for those with different physical abilities, and being a way for parents to spend time with their children.2

With the rise of gaming culture, its ability to connect people from around the world has upgraded its status from being an entertaining hobby to developing its own lifestyle. Rita Maggiolli stated that gaming has influenced music, fashion, and even the way we communicate with each other [...] [I]t has provided a platform for people to form communities and share their experiences with others.3

The rise of video games has also led to growing competition between nations. According to 2023 statistics, China ranks first in eSports with nearly $38 million, followed by the United States with nearly $29 million, Russia with $14.5 million, and South Korea with nearly $12 million.4 In contrast, the United States has the highest number of active eSports players (3,563), followed by China (2,024), Brazil (1,358), South Korea (1,128), France (1,047), Japan (900), Russia (892), and the United Kingdom (821).5

The rise of video game competitions is expected to continue gaining popularity and will spread influence across wide audiences. The U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe of the U.S. Department of State has announced, to interested organizations, an open competition that encourages them to design, implement, and oversee a workshop and game jam that targets Japanese game developers and game development students. This program aims to enhance the capacity and ability for game makers, digital artists, and storytellers with their skills to achieve social change.

Proposals must gather together 50 to 70 skilled gaming industry professionals and game design students for a four-day program, consisting of a two-day workshop led by American and local game design experts followed by a two-day game jam where participants form teams and conceptualize games that can address pressing issues such as: climate change, disinformation, women’s empowerment, diversity & inclusion, civic engagement, et cetera.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Private, Public, & State Institutions of Higher Education
  • Individuals
  • County, Township, or City Governments

Please note the following projects or activities that are not eligible for funding under this opportunity:

  • Projects relating to partisan political activities;
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Construction projects;
  • Projects that support specific religious activities;
  • Fund-raising campaigns;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or projects;
  • Scientific research;
  • Projects intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization and
  • Projects seeking funds for personal use.

The Grant Writing Team at USFCR is now accepting applicants for grant writing support regarding projects for the OSAKA-PAS-FY24-02 FY2024 U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe: Games for Social Change Program. Please fill out the following grant assessment form prior to March 5th, 2024 for a member of our team to connect about this opportunity.

Don't miss out on the funding that could elevate your project to the next level!

Take the Grant Assessment

If you have questions regarding your organization's unique program, please contact us at (877) 252-2700 or email grants@usfcr.com

1Entertainment Software Association. (n.d.). 2023 Essential facts about the U.S. video game industry. Retrieved from https://www.theesa.com/2023-essential-facts/ 

2Armstrong, C. (2023, July 10). Video games remain America’s favorite pastime with more than 212 million Americans playing regularly. Entertainment Software Association. Retrieved from https://www.theesa.com/news/video-games-remain-americas-favorite-pastime-with-more-than-212-million-americans-playing-regularly/#:~:text=71%25%20of%20players%20say%20games,video%20games%20with%20their%20children.

3Maggioli, R. (2023, Mar 17). The cultural significance of gaming and its evolution over the years. Landing.Jobs. Retrieved from https://landing.jobs/blog/gaming-culture-evolution/#:~:text=It%20has%20influenced%20music%2C%20fashion,ability%20to%20bring%20people%20together.

4Esports Earnings. (n.d.). Top countries for 2023. Retrieved from https://www.esportsearnings.com/history/2023/countries


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Mari Crocitto

Written by Mari Crocitto