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.