Poland is so proud of its gaming industry that its prime minister gave the President of the United States a copy of one of its biggest games when he visited in 2011.
Obama is back in Poland today, and while he hasn’t had time to play it, he pointed to The Witcher franchise as evidence of how the country is establishing strong and diverse talents. At a press conference in Warsaw, he noted the title is representative of the nation’s growing economy.
“The last time I was here, [Polish prime minister] Donald Tusk gave me a gift, the video game developed here in Poland that’s won fans the world over, The Witcher,” Obama said during a press conference. “I confess, I’m not very good at video games, but I’ve been told that it is a great example of Poland’s place in the new global economy. And it’s a tribute to the talents and work ethic of the Polish people as well as the wise stewardship of Polish leaders like Prime Minister Tusk.”
Developer CD Projekt Red, which is one of that country’s biggest gaming developers, released the fantasy role-playing game for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in 2007. Critics welcomed it with positive reviews and noted that it has especially impressive visuals. CD Projekt Red debuted the sequel in 2011, and it is working on a third game now.
You can see the president’s speech on the Polish news website TVN24.
While the games industry often intersects with politics in times of controversy, it’s interesting to see two world leaders point to the economic benefits of original game development. It’s also amazing to see the prime minister of a country use a game as an example of the industriousness of his people.
Most politicians in the U.S. don’t bring up games unless they are trying to impose limits on them, but as manufacturing jobs have fled to developing nations, the country’s gaming industry still makes products that people in other countries want to buy. Tusk recognizes and celebrates that for Poland.
Of course, this isn’t the first time something gaming related made its way into the hands of a dignitary. In 2009, now-defunct publisher THQ sent a golden Nintendo Wii to Queen Elizabeth II of England with a copy of minigame collection Big Family Games. Prior to that, in 2007, Microsoft founder Bill Gates commissioned a custom version of the Xbox 360 especially for South Korean president Lee Myung-bak.