Nonprofit organization Rock the Vote wants to launch the largest nonpartisan voter registration campaign this election year, and it’s turning to the video game industry for help.
Last week, Rock the Vote announced partnerships with Microsoft, video-game publisher Ubisoft, and game developer Epic Games to deliver election information to young gamers and urge them to register to vote. Vice president of communications and marketing Chrissy Faessen told GamesBeat in a recent interview that all three partnerships came about in different ways, but Rock the Vote was thrilled to talk to each and every one of them.
This isn’t the first time Rock the Vote has partnered with the gaming community. It first teamed up with Microsoft during the 2008 election, and Faessen said the software giant was one of its top voter registration partners that year. “We found it hugely successful to kind of partner with the gaming community in order to reach their audience with our messages about voter registration,” she said. “So this year, we thought about it and we talked to various partners who were wanting to get involved in the election. It was a natural fit. These are young people; these are young gamers, who are definitely within our target demographic, and it was a great opportunity for us to integrate in several different ways to make sure that they’ve got the information they need, to not only get registered to vote, but to cast their ballots on Nov. 6.”
This is, however, the first time Rock the Vote is allowing people to register directly through a video game. Epic Games’ VOTE!!! The Game is a satirical beat-’em-up that is free to play on iOS devices. It features cartoon versions of President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who duke it out in various political arenas while wearing funny costumes. Faessen said Epic Games approached Rock the Vote to see what content the organization could bring to the game. “So, they were able to integrate our online tool into the game itself and allow you the opportunity to get registered right there through a ‘Register to Vote’ banner while playing the game,” she said.
Although Faessen won’t speculate on how many people will turn out for this election, she said Rock the Vote hopes to get 1.5 million people registered, gamers and nongamers alike. “We’ve still yet to see how the candidiates’ campaigns are going to continue to reach out to young people during those critical weeks leading up to the voter registration deadline. But what we do know is that [young people are] paying attention, and they’re interested, and they want to create a better future for themselves.”