The Xbox and Politics

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, a poll of Xbox Live users showed that gamers prefer Obama. The presidential poll, a part of Rock the Vote’s new partnership with Microsoft, returned results showing that 43% of gamers would vote Obama, 31% would vote McCain, 13% were undecided, and another 13% were “Other.” Perhaps they support Master Chief?

No matter what your political preference, you have to applaud the effort of the joint Microsoft/Rock the Vote campaign and how they’re using the Xbox platform as way to reach out to young voters.

Through Xbox Live, gamers can download Obama or McCain Gamerpics and add them to their Xbox Live profile. There are also voter registration forms and info and Rock the Vote videos. Gamers don’t have to hunt through the various blades within Xbox to find the content, either. Thanks to banner ads right on the dashboard, the content is only a click…errr…a button press…away. 

To date, more than 55,000 voter registration forms have been downloaded through the service. That’s a pretty impressive number given the typically apathetic nature of young voters. It’s a testament to not only the efforts of the Rock the Vote campaign, but also those of the newest generation of young voters.

Generation Y, the first generation of “digital natives” is finally old enough to vote so Rock the Vote is trying to reach them on the platforms where they’re known to congregate: on blogs, on YouTube, on Facebook, on MySpace, on flickr, and on the Xbox, too.

There has been much said about this generation; their use of technology, their unique work ethic, their lack of brand loyalty, and their commitment to social change are a few of the hottest Gen Y topics. When it comes to social change, the U.S. election will be the first real test of whether this generation is paying more than lip service to their ideals. Will they actually go out there and vote? We’ll just have to wait and see. But if Rock the Vote can get tens of thousands of new voters engaged enough with the political process when they were just planning on chilling out with an Xbox game, then they are doing something right.  

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