The next time someone says there’s no future in playing video games, you can point them here.

Twitch.TV, Alienware and SteelSeries awarded five $10,000 scholarships to students after receiving hundreds of applications for their scholarship program, announced in June.

One of the winners is Kelli Dunlap, a 26-year-old doctoral candidate at the American School of Professional Psychology in Washington, D.C. If it seems difficult for a graduate student to balance studies and a gaming lifestyle, it helps that Dunlap’s thesis is about intense gaming — specifically, its effect on people’s health and well-being.

Dunlap’s hypothesis goes against the beliefs of many TV pundits who demonize games as encouraging addictive behavior. She says that people with negative or addictive personality traits can be attracted to gaming just like any other recreational activity. In short, it’s not the gaming that’s the problem, it’s the personality of the player.

“Video games are inherently rewarding. There is so much positive stimulation, and if you don’t have that in your concrete life, it can be really alluring,” Dunlap says. “Anything can be abused if there is a void they are trying to fill, or there is something [people] are trying to avoid.”

Dunlap says she’s already collected all her data on a broad spectrum of gamers through online surveys. She also has her own gaming habits as anecdotal evidence. Dunlap has been playing (and dominating) Halo since she picked up the first game in 2003. She says that when she was filling out her application for the Twitch scholarship, she emphasized in her essays that being involved in the gaming and Halo communities has helped her with her research, especially when it came time to look for people to interview.

“She was just perfect for the kind of people we wanted to help out,” says Twitch’s vice president of marketing Matthew DiPetrio. “She had gaming, ability and passion combined with academic ability and ambition. Gaming is becoming so much more than a solitary experience. This is just another example of the way gaming is expanding beyond its original borders.”

Other scholarship winners, all picked based on their grades, skill and passion for the gaming community are:

  • Kevin Carlino, a Diablo player and video producer studying computer science at Arizona State.

  • John Stockwell, a Team Fortress 2 player majoring in computer science at Pennsylvania State University.

  • Antonio Revard, a former professional Counter-Strike player, Twitch broadcaster, and video game design major at Michigan State.

  • Joey Yurgelon, a StarCraft and League of Legends player studying mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/06/gaming-scholarship-twitch/


The 2012 U.S. presidential election, fittingly dubbed the first meme election by some people, came to end this week when Americans re-elected Barack Obama.

While his victory messages went viral across Facebook and Twitter, other candid moments and political parodies caught people’s attention on the web (watch the video).

Never ones to stray away from attention, cats also clawed their way into the spotlight, as did Angry Birds.

BONUS: Speaking of Cats …


Microsoft is trying a new marketing gambit to get consumers to use its Bing search engine: A blind taste test.

The campaign, called Bing It On, asks users to compare any five search results for Bing and Google side-by-side without knowing which is which, and pick out the results that are the most relevant. Users can do this using BingItOn.com and then find out whether they really prefer Google or Bing. It’s basically the online equivalent of the Pepsi Challenge.

The Bing It On campaign comes on the heels of an independent study of nearly 1,000 Internet users commissioned by Microsoft, which found that people prefer Bing’s search results to Google’s two-to-one in blind comparison tests.

Despite these findings, Bing has been stuck in a distant second place behind Google in the search market. Bing currently has just 15.7% market share, while Google has two-thirds of the market, according to the latest numbers from comScore, though Microsoft’s share jumps to 28.7% if you include Yahoo’s sites, which are powered by Bing.

“We’ve increasingly seen that customers have a tough time breaking their Google habits,” Lisa Gurry, Bing’s senior director, told Mashable. “The use of Google for any search is very habitual, like tapping your foot in a meeting, you don’t really give it a lot of thought. With this campaign, we want to help people realize there is another option for search.”

We reached out to Google for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has tried to battle consumers’ ingrained habits. In February, the company launched a Pepsi Challenge for its Windows Phone that offered side-by-side comparisons to iPhones and Android-based devices. That programhit a glitch the following month when an Android user charged that the competition was rigged. This time around, Microsoft is going all out by promoting the Bing It On campaign during the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday and in Microsoft stores around the country.

Microsoft is also launching a sweepstakes to promote the Bing It On challenge. Anyone who tweets about the campaign using a link found on Bingsweeps.com will be entered to win one of several Microsoft prizes including a Surface tablet, Xbox, Windows phone and more.

While the Bing It On campaign is a fun idea, it could also end up backfiring on Bing. When this reporter took the test, Google won five out of five rounds.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/06/microsoft-bing-it-on-challenge/