MP Watson Dishes on FB Group and Politics

December 8, 2009 -

Tom Watson, the videogame backing Labour MP from West Bromwich East, linked up with GamesIndustry.biz for a wide-ranging interview that discusses what’s going on behind the scenes of the UK government and what we might expect from his pro-gaming Facebook group.

Membership in Watson’s Gamers’ Voice group is now approaching almost 16,000 members. A first meeting of the loose-knit organization is scheduled for December 9 at the House of Commons.

Watson was asked what the group could hope to achieve:

Well, in political terms it's already had a big impact. There're a lot of MPs who've already talked to me about how they can go about talking to gamers, what the issues are, because of course they only read the papers as well, and if the only things you read in the papers is that games are bad and they're turning our children into monsters then it's going to cloud their view.

Next, the MP was asked about the adoption of the PEGI system in the UK as the sole means to rate games:

It's not the PEGI system that people remember from a few years ago. They've really upped their game on this and I think the labelling and classification is better, simpler, easier to understand and I think the industry is pretty committed as well that once this ratings system goes through they're going to invest in a public education campaign so that people actually know what the ratings mean and they're aware when they can make choices in retail outlets.

What about tax breaks for UK-based videogame developers?

Tax breaks are part of that but there's a much wider piece of work to do that perhaps the industry should start thinking a little bit more about. What kind of a games industry do we want in 10 years' time? Where are platform games going? What are we doing with social gaming? Where are we at with games-based learning? How do we tie all these strands of work together so that we can have a really deep, strategic approach to the industry rather than these piecemeal issues that flare up like sunspots and die down again. There needs to be an institution that deals with that.


Comments

Re: MP Watson Dishes on FB Group and Politics

In the future, hopefully online communities will have a larger voice and that politicians will take notice.

Because trying to rally gamers in a certain place at one time is so hard because of the large area to cover and most adult gamers will never be able to attend a venue all at once.

Things are better online since anyone from anywhere can participate in the group when they have the free time and don't risk loosing their jobs, it is a far more better way to show allot of support for online communities.

Perhaps this is a good thing about facebook.

 

TBoneTony

Re: MP Watson Dishes on FB Group and Politics

By and large, gamers will get together, given an event to do so at- there's generally some big LAN at a racecourse or conference centre every few months, as well as more expo-like events like MCM and Eurogamer- the catch being that they're generally there for the content, and while you could probably get enough people together who are already at an event to create some sort of protest, doing so is generally easy to dismiss because most people are only at it because they were passing by, so to speak.

That being said, given that the Facebook group already has an MP involved, you'd only really need a small number of representatives, rather than a big rally- if anything, I suppose we've managed to bypass the need for it.

/b

Re: MP Watson Dishes on FB Group and Politics

That Facebook Pro-gaming group is amazing! There are so many gamers on there! IF this works, hopefully other governments will catch on like ahem, the U.S. government & will stand up for gamers' rights.

 

 

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Re: MP Watson Dishes on FB Group and Politics

Okay, I'm assembling a crack team to kidnap him, swap him with a U.S. Senator, and hope nobody notices.  Who wants in?

Re: MP Watson Dishes on FB Group and Politics

If it's Lieberman, I'm in.

Re: MP Watson Dishes on FB Group and Politics

Maybe we should swap out the Stars & Stripes controller for one with a Union Jack, yeesh.

 
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