Report: ESLPA Expressed Concern During Tax Break Talk with UK Government

December 8, 2010 -

A four-page expose put together by GameIndustry.biz reveals that ELSPA -- the trade group representing the interactive entertainment industry in the UK -- may have quietly been working against tax breaks. While it sounds like a nefarious, under-handed scenario - and one that may have inadvertently sent a mixed signal to the government at the time - the group had its reasons.

While the industry continually lobbied the government last year to provide tax breaks and other business support, ELSPA aired a number of concerns it had with the government over "cultural tax breaks." ELSPA apparently warned the government against such tax breaks, instead urging them to offer the industry 'software' tax breaks.

The difference between the two is vast:

1 comment | Read more

TIGA Applauds UK Government Corporate Tax Reduction, But Wants More

November 30, 2010 -

UK-based trade organization TIGA issued a statement this morning about the government's announcements on corporate tax reform, and its plan to introduce a "Patent Box." The UK government announced that it will introduce a Patent Box in April 2013 – a 10 percent CT rate on profits from patents. The UK government also announced a "Corporation Tax Road Map" and timetable to deliver a reduction in corporate tax for large and small businesses. The plan calls for a reduction in the rate from 28 to 24 percent over the next 4 years and a reduction in the small profits rate from 21 to 20 percent from April 2011.

| Read more

UK Labour Leader Blames Tory-Liberal Coalition for Realtime Worlds Failure

August 20, 2010 -

UK Labour party leadership candidate Ed Balls recently made a stop at Dundee and, in the wake of Realtime World’s administration, has blamed the cancellelation of planned tax breaks for the UK games industry are the "cause of the company’s failure."

In a post on his personal blog, Balls reminded readers that the tax breaks by the "previous Labour government" were cut by his colleagues in the Tory and Liberal coalition.

 

Balls also highlighted the stiff competition his country faces from places like Canada, where government support for the industry coupled with aggressive recruitment tactics of UK companies has made the country look like a shining beacon to developers who are looking for ways to make games and save some money.

| Read more

ELSPA Wondering Where UK Conservatives Stand on Tax Breaks

May 4, 2010 -

In advance of polling (election) day on May 6 in the UK, the Entertainment and Leisure Publishers Association (ELSPA) trade organization has issued a call to the Conservative Party for it to clarify its stance on videogame tax breaks.

The Conservatives had promised to release a “mini manifesto” on the subject last month, but with just a couple of days to go before the election no official word had been issued as of yet.

ELSPA Director General Michael Rawlinson stated, “We urge the Conservatives to publish their mini manifesto on creative industries before May 6th. The Conservative Party has spoken on numerous occasions of their commitment towards the videogames industry and creative industries in general, and our importance in helping to provide a more balanced UK economy.”

He continued:

| Read more

ELSPA to Host Political Q&A

March 17, 2010 -

In advance of the looming general elections, UK Trade organization ELSPA has organized a videogame-related question and answer session with three MPs.

Scheduled for March 29, the talk will include pro-gaming Labour MP Tom Watson, Conservative MP Ed Vaizey and Liberal Democratic MP Don Foster. Sadly, anti-game MP Keith Vaz will not be a part of the proceedings. Along with presenting each group’s vision for the game industry, the Q&A will put forth issues such as tax incentives; investment in skilled graduates; Intellectual Property theft; and the impact of the Digital Economy Bill.

Daily Telegraph Consumer Technology Editor Matt Warman will moderate the session.

Watson commented, “Videogames have become an intrinsic part of the UK economy and culture, I’m delighted to be participating in this debate, to put forward my ideas on how government can best influence the future direction of the industry.”

| Read more

Tory Leader Takes Dig at Games

January 27, 2010 -

In a wide-ranging interview with the Times Online, Iain Duncan Smith took a little time to make disparaging remarks about videogames.

Smith has long been obsessed with fixing what he terms today’s “broken society.”  His solutions included promoting the importance of marriage and implementing more taxation on alcohol and reversing 24-hour liquor licensing laws.

As a contributor to today’s societal ills, Smith said about games:

We are driving children to lose their childhood, and some video games are incredibly violent, like Grand Theft Auto. They are meant to be 18 but nobody cares what it says on the label.

An article on Computer and Videogames took Smith to task for his comments, responding that the MPs voting for adopting the PEGI system obviously “care” what’s on a game’s label. Also singled out for “caring” were ELSPA, retailer GAME and a group of videogame publishers that attempt to keep inappropriate games out of the hands of younger gamers.

The CVG article also puts the onus on parents to police what their kids are playing:

But unless our politicians make sure parents 'care' enough to say "no" - by backing Parliament's own legislation - we're fighting a losing battle.

24 comments

Vaizey: Conservatives in Power Would Delay Game Tax Breaks

January 22, 2010 -

While Keith Vaz being mocked in absentia at this week’s eForum roundtable on the state of the UK games industry was a humorous aspect of the proceedings, there were also some deep insights to emerge from the meeting as well.

Jas Purewal attended the forum and wrote up a couple of the more interesting notes on his website. Among them, a comment from Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey (pictured) that if the Conservative party comes into power this year, there would most likely be no movement on creating tax incentives for game developers for two to three years. Vaizey reasoned that a focus on correcting the current recession would take top priority and push any talk on incentives to the back burner.

Vaizey also disclosed his hope that TIGA and ELSPA could work together more closely in the future, or even merge.

More coverage from the forum on the topics of tax breaks, digital distribution and education can be found on this page of Purewal’s site.

5 comments

Try Your Hand at Being an MP for a Week

January 12, 2010 -

Tired of UK politicians? Think you could do a better job? An online game from the UK government allows players to take on the role of a backbench MP for a week.

The game, which is very well produced, begins by allowing players to choose a level of play, a party affiliation, an area of the UK to represent and a focus (local issues, world issues or money & finance). No focus on the games industry though sorry.

The game is aimed at 11-14 year olds and features eight types of activities—votes, questions, debates, speech editing, press conferences, messages and meetings. Players are charged with surviving the week without party or voter support dropping too low.

The game drew the support of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA). ELSPA Director General Mike Rawlinson said about the game, “We are pleased to see Parliament embracing videogames in this way and finally appreciating the relevance of videogames in many areas of work and play.“

6 comments

MPs Seek to Speed Up PEGI Introduction

January 8, 2010 -

As time winds down to the general elections, the UK government is attempting to push-through the Digital Economy Bill.

MCVUK reports that, while some aspects of the bill are still hotly contested, politicians are hoping to fast track at least some elements of the bill, including making the Pan-European Game Information PEGI ratings system enforceable by law.

Don Foster, Bath MP, stated:

Swiftness is the essence of why we are here today. It is vital that we get back on to the statute book, as quickly as possible, legislation that provides protection against the sale of inappropriate material to children and counters the ability of people to sell pirate DVDs and so on.

Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey added:

The Digital Economy Bill will amend the 1984 Act and bring video games into a system of statutory classification using the European rating system known as PEGI—pan European game information. Broadly speaking, hon. Members of all parties support that. Everybody recognises that video games should be classified under a statutory system.

The Digital Economy bill recommends that PEGI become the sole method of classifying games, replacing the current structure that uses PEGI and British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ratings. Another controversial aspect contains a three-strikes law aimed at Internet pirates.

5 comments

UK Conservatives Scored on Game Issues

November 4, 2009 -

A piece up on The Sixth Axis website poses the question, “What if: The Tories Win” and goes about breaking down what a Conservative Party win might mean for the UK developers and gamers.

The article kicks off by describing the ways politicians can shape gaming, including tax breaks for developers, deciding how games are rated and influencing the speed of Internet connections.

Ed Vaizey, Shadow Culture Minister is the focus of most of the piece, with the author offering “WIN” or “FAIL” grades for Vaizey’s inferred stances or public remarks on topics ranging from integration of videogames into the UK Film Council (a “WIN”), ways to help grow UK game development (a “FAIL”), developments in broadband (a “WIN” and a “FAIL”) and Internet piracy (a “WIN”).

Details on the “WIN” grade for involving the UK Film Council in games:

One of the best ideas from the Conservatives is to integrate video games in to the UK Film Council, a body that looks after the economic, cultural and educational aspects of the UK film industry both here and abroad. The council also distributes Lottery money to finance new independent UK films and I would assume they would to the same for games. This could lead to a more PSN and XBLA games.

The author finishes with an overview of the Shadow Culture Minister:

He appears to be enthusiastic about gaming and he does not assume that anyone who plays GTA IV will go and chainsaw a nearby prostitute – this is a very good thing. The bit where he understands gaming does not turn you in to a psycho, not the chainsawing of prostitutes.


|Image via LOLMart|

13 comments

UK Politician Calls for Government to Step Up Aid to Game Devs

October 28, 2009 -

As part of yesterday’s London Games Conference, Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey called for sweeping proposals to aid the UK’s videogame development industry.

Vaizey cited research that indicated the UK games market could shrink by 16.5 percent over the next five years, in turn losing some 1,700 jobs. Among the reforms he called for, via MCVUK, were:

• Look at extending the remit of the Film Council to cover the video games sector to give video games the national voice they need and deserve.
• Recognise that high technology companies in the UK face specific challenges when it comes to raising finance and attracting venture capital.
• Give the sector the support it needs to succeed and expand in the global economy.
• Stimulate investment in superfast broadband, vital to the future growth of the sector, through the telecoms regulatory structure.

In a speech at the conference, Vaizey said the UK had lost 44 studios already, and risked losing its current ranking of third in the world (behind America and Japan) in terms of game development. He continued:

Global competition is incredibly fierce, and high development costs in the United Kingdom are slowly killing the industry. Given what is happening, you would expect our Government to be acting urgently. After all, many others are.  Unfortunately, the UK is falling far behind.

Vaizey stopped short of endorsing a tax-break for developers, encouraging studios to “think more widely than that,” noting that, “First things first, we need to get the public finances under control by tackling our spiralling deficit.”

So, is Vaizey a gamer?

I am not a gamer. I have just got myself a Wii. So I am getting involved. It’s been the single greatest pleasure of my job to discover and learn about an industry I knew little about before this job.

8 comments

MP: British Govt. Obsessed With Video Game Violence Issue

September 11, 2009 -

Shadow Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey (left), a consistent supporter of the UK's video game industry, said this week that the British Government was too focused on the video game violence issue and not paying enough attention to helping the industry grow.

Develop reports that Vaizey made his comments while registering for the new London Games Conference, which will be held in October. The Conservative Member of Parliament said:

I’m delighted to be speaking to the London Games Conference. The games sector is one of the most successful creative industries in the UK, but it has been forgotten by Government.

While Canada and France aggressively compete to attract talent, all our politicians can talk about is video games violence.

Yet games should be a dream for a politician – it recruits people qualified in difficult subjects, like maths and computer science; it’s regional; and it’s successful and world-beating. Government backing should be a no-brainer.

11 comments

Oops! UK Game Ratings Haven't Been Enforceable Since 1984

August 25, 2009 -

In the UK, 25 years worth of government enforcement of content ratings for video games and films has been found to lack the required legal basis.

As reported by politics.co.uk, the Maggie Thatcher regime failed to notify the European Commission regarding the 1984 Video Recordings Act, thus invalidating the law.

In the UK, unlike the United States, content ratings have the force of law and those who sell adult-rated games or movies to minors can be charged with an offense. The oversight was discovered recently by the British government's Department for Culture Media and Sport.

A representative of the UK's Entertainment Retailers Association expressed amazement at the news:

This is extraordinary. For 25 years retailers have been faithfully administering the system and now this happens.

Meanhwile, Liberal Democrat Don Foster seized the opportunity to criticize Conservative Party leader David Cameron:

This must be a massive embarrassment to the Tories, especially as David Cameron was the special advisor to the Home Secretary in 1993 when the law was amended.

However, Conservative Jeremy Hunt pointed the finger of blame back at the Labor Government:

Much of the problem would have been avoided if they had sorted out the classification of video games earlier, as we and many others in the industry have been urging them to do.

Game publishers lobbying group ELSPA has counseled its members to proceed normally and offered to help the government fix the mistake. As reported by gamesindustry.biz, ELSPA boss Michael Rawlinson said:

The discovery that the Video Recordings Act is not enforceable is obviously very surprising. In the interest of child safety it is essential that this loophole is closed as soon as possible.

In this respect the videogames industry will do all it can to support and assist the government to that effect. ELSPA will therefore advise our members to continue to forward games to be rated as per the current agreement while the legal issues are being resolved.

Theoretically, at least, unscrupulous sellers have a 90-day window to peddle adult content to children. It will take the government at least that long to push through a revision to the VRA.

32 comments

Conservative MP Sees Pro-Game Future for UK

July 28, 2009 -

Bruce Everiss has posted a revealing interview with Conservative MP Ed Vaizey (left) over at Bruce on Games.

Vaizey, who was vocal in his support of the UK video game industry before it was fashionable to do so, offers some worthwhile insights:

I would see video games as art, they are creative, and they have by now their own heritage and cultural significance, which is one element of art.

[UK Conservatives] think video games have not been taken seriously by [PM Gordon Brown's Labour] Government.  They are a huge industry for us, we are world-beaters, and we should be looking at imaginative policies to support the industry as much as possible...

Vaizey also comments sensibly on another pair of hot-button issues, sensationalized media coverage and video game piracy:

You can’t [get the media to stop writing negative stories about games] – the media love bad news stories.  But I do think  the industry has made real strides in the last couple of years.  You see many more Wii type stories, emphasising the industry’s contribution to health and education, than you used to...

 

We will work with the ISPs [on piracy] to ensure that people who are ripping off games are held to account, we have to take tough measures to ensure this becomes much less of a problem.  But the industry has to adapt as well, and change its business models to account for the new era.

6 comments

In Parliament, Suggestion of "Global Regulatory Future" For Video Games

July 21, 2009 -

In Parliament yesterday, longtime video game industry critic Keith Vaz (Labour) quizzed Siôn Simon (left), Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Culture, Media & Sport about PEGI ratings and the controversial Japanese game RapeLay.

Conservative Mark Field jumped in on the topic, appearing to suggest the pursuit of a global content rating system for video games. Surprisingly, Simon said that the UK's recent adoption of the European PEGI system was viewed by the Gordon Brown government as "the building block to moving towards a global regulatory future."

The conversation went something like this:

Keith Vaz: What recent discussions has [Simon] had with pan-European game information on the age classification of video games?

Siôn Simon:
I have spoken to the Video Standards Council—the current UK agents for the PEGI system—about the classification of video games and have another meeting scheduled with it very soon. I have also had discussions with the British Board of Film Classification. Both organisations are working hard to ensure the success of the new system.

Keith Vaz:
I thank the Minister for his answer and welcome the steps that the Government are taking on this issue. However, it is still a matter of concern that a game such as "RapeLay", which shows extreme violence against women, can be downloaded from the internet. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that such games are not accessed from the internet, so that children and young people are properly protected?

Siôn Simon: We should be clear that [RapeLay] was not classified, but was briefly available on Amazon and then was banned. The point that my right hon. Friend is making is about games that, like other brutal, unpleasant, illegal content, can be available on the internet. All steps that apply to any other content on the internet will apply to games. Specifically, as part of the Byron review we set up the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to work with content providers, internet service providers and all aspects of Government to make sure that such content cannot be accessed, particularly by children.

Mark Field: The Minister will know that Britain is a great leader in video and computer games, and while I take on board many of the concerns expressed by Keith Vaz, will the Minister recognise that this is a global industry, not simply a European one, and in so far as we are going to have the safeguards to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, we will clearly also need to have global regulation along those lines?

Siôn Simon: The system of regulation for which we have opted—the PEGI system—is pan-European, and as such, we see it as the building block to moving towards a global regulatory future. The key principle is that the markings on games should make it clear to parents which games are suitable for adults and which are suitable and unsuitable for children and young children. Adults should be allowed to access adult content; children most certainly should not.

GP: Readers, what do you think of the idea of a global content rating system? Is it even possible? If so, is it desirable?

Source: They Work For You

175 comments

British MP: Not Many Govt. Ministers Rush Home to Play GTA

June 29, 2009 -

The Member of Paliament who chairs a bipartisan working on the British video game business told Edge Online that most of his colleagues are more conversant with other forms of media.

In his chat with EO MP John Whittingdale dished on a variety of game-related topics from the recent Digital Britain report to broadband speeds to a new requirement that games be culturally British in order to qualify for tax breaks. The thoughtful comments offered by the Conservative MP indicate that he has devoted some time to researching the role of games in British society. Among his remarks:

The case for some kind of incentive to make sure that the UK remains one of the major locations for games development [is] something that needs to be pressed quickly, because the longer we leave it, the greater risk there will be a steady loss of jobs to places like Canada...

 

There’s definitely an educational component. I think it does no harm for policy makers who are going to be debating issues affecting the games industry to have some experience of videogames. If that means developers and publishers coming into the House of Commons, demonstrating them, and giving MPs a sense of what the game involves, that has to be a good thing.

 

My guess would be that very few ministers in the government spend a great deal of time playing computer games, whereas they do go to the cinema, they do watch television, and they do listen to the radio... there may be ministers who rush home to play GTA all night, but it’s unlikely...

Given the age of most MPs, they’re probably thinking back to Space Invaders and Atari consoles. The other thing is that there’s a lot of negativity around, a lot of concern that young people who spend their hours gaming are missing out on educational activities. The case that gaming can bring benefits is something we need to promote, and then there’s always been the fear that somehow certain games may be damaging because of the violent content, and there’s a lot of mythology around that...

 

A game like Manhunt 2... we need to impose controls to ensure that children cannot purchase them. But then there’s the hysteria over something like the suicide bomber web game Kaboom, which everyone got very worked up about. When I went online and tried it out, the idea that this was going to turn the nation into suicide bombers was clearly absurd...

 

28 comments

British MP: ELSPA and Tiga Should Merge

May 13, 2009 -

ESA, EMA, ESRB, IGDA, ELSPA, Tiga: On both sides of the Atlantic the alphabet soup is bubbling when it comes to video game industry trade groups.

But one member of Parliament thinks that the British video game industry would be better served with a single organization whose name people could remember.

Conservative MP Edward Vaizey (left), who has been a vocal supporter of the game biz, told IncGamers:

[ELSPA and Tiga should] merge and have a name everyone can understand. Two trade bodies for one industry, why?

 

The videogame industry has to up its game and tell people what they're about. There are all these great stories about videogames which never get into the press. [The two trade bodies - ELSPA and Tiga] [s]hould get together and talk to each other, and get the good press stories out there...

Vaizey also criticized the Labour Government's recent Change4Life campaign which suggested that playing video games would lead to an early death. The campaign was later revised.

GP: Vaizey may be a bit off the mark here. ELSPA represents game publishers, while Tiga represents game developers. While there are areas of mutual concern, the interests of the two groups are not always in synch.

3 comments

Labour Govt. Can't Say How Much Money It's Given to Game Biz

April 3, 2009 -

The Labour Government of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has given financial assistance to the video game industry, but it doesn't know how much, according to gamesindustry.biz.

Conservative MP Philip Davies (left) addressed the question to the government's Department of Culture, Media and Sports earlier this week. Parliamentary under-secretary Barbara Follett provided the response:

The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. We do not have the specific figures broken down by sector or year.

Richard Wilson, CEO of U.K. game developers group Tiga, criticized the government's confusion:

The government needs good quality information if it is to implement plans that benefit economic sectors. However, the government's admission today that it supports the videogames sector but doesn't record the amount of financial support means that it cannot effectively measure its impact.

This is a great shame - the government needs to record and assess its financial assessments in order to make better policy in the future.

Fable II, LBP, GRID Receive Kudos in Parliament

March 29, 2009 -

As noted on the House of Commons website, Conservative MP Edward Vaizey (left) introduced an early day motion last week to recognize BAFTA nominees and winners, including Little Big Planet, Fable II and Race Driver: GRID.

A vocal backer of the UK video game industry, Vaizey also took the opportunity to criticize the Labour Government for not providing what he views as a sufficient level of support to the British game biz:

[Moved:] That this House notes the importance of the video games sector to the UK economy; congratulates the winners and nominees at this year's Bafta Video Games Awards; notes in particular the success of UK developed games, including Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet, Codemasters'  and Lionhead Studios' Fable II, all of which won awards...

 

applauds this recognition of the continued success and significance of video games despite the complete lack of support from Government; regrets the fact that this lack of support from Government has seen the UK fall from being the third largest producer of video games in the world to the fifth largest; and urges the Government to devise a clear and supportive strategy for the UK video games sector as part of the Digital Britain review.

GP: Vaizey's name is popping up on GamePolitics with enough regularity that we've added a tag for him in our category list.

12 comments

British Conservative Party Charges Govt. with Failing UK Game Biz

February 11, 2009 -

A Conservative member of the British Parliament has accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government of failing the UK's video game industry.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, Ed Vaizey (left) said:

The Government's strategy for videogames has been shown to be nothing more than a sham. For months, whenever we have pressed the Government for action, they have used the excuse that the issue had been referred to the WTO. Now they no longer have this excuse.

As the games industry itself says, the Government now 'stands naked, bereft of a credible fiscal policy with which to support the sector.

 

The Government must act now to support an industry that is world-beating, job-creating and at the heart of our creative industries. After nine reviews of the creative industries, and eight more in the pipeline, the Government's dithering has now been exposed as causing real damage.

Vaizey's mention of the WTO refers to a trade complaint which the UK filed against Canada in March, 2008. As Gamers Daily News reports, that bid has failed.

Richard Wilson, head of British game developers' trade group Tiga, echoed Vaizey's criticism of the government's handling of the video game sector:

Last year the Government said that the UK via the European Union would take legal action against Canada if its support for its video games industry violated WTO rules. We now know that there are no legal grounds on which to lodge a complaint.

We cannot stop our competitors from benefiting from tax breaks but there is a simple solution: copy them. Just as Australia, Canada, China, France, Singapore, South Korea and some American states help their games industries to grow through extensive tax breaks, so the UK Government should back our games industry with a tax break for games production. If you can’t beat them, join them.

The Government stands naked before the games industry, bereft of a credible fiscal policy with which to support the sector...

22 comments

In Parliament, Lively Debate on Video Game Ratings & Green Cross Man

November 14, 2008 -

The House of Commons had a lengthy and entertaining debate on video game issues yesterday. Also under discussion was the issue of Internet safety for children. Both topics, of course, were the focus of the well-known Byron Review.

MPs, including Labour Party game critic Keith Vaz argued about game ratings, game violence and whether the government does enough to support the British game biz.

The session had to be gaveled to order at a couple of points and Vaz made reference to a "secret tea" attended by Conservative MP Edward Vaizey and game industry execs. And, as if the ongoing turf war between PEGI and BBFC for U.K. ratings dominance wasn't complex enough, yesterday's debate also featured the light-hearted suggestion that British road safety icon the Green Cross Man (left) somehow be tied into the game rating system.

In this report, we've omitted the Internet bits to focus on the video game debate. Here's our abridged transcript:

John Whittingdale (Conservative): ...If one looks for empirical, hard, factual evidence that viewing a particular video or playing a video game has led someone to go out and commit a crime such as a rape or an act of violence, there is very little. Our view was therefore... that we should act on the probability of risk. Where there is a probable risk that someone would be influenced by exposure to such material, that is sufficient cause for intervention...

Tanya Byron did a great deal of work on that. Her other conclusion, which was shared strongly by the Committee, was that we cannot completely insulate children from material that might pose a risk. Part of educating children involves teaching them how to deal with risks. If we insulate them to the extent that they never encounter risks, they will not know how to deal with them...

Providers such as Microsoft told us about the parental controls that they have installed into products such as the Xbox... We were impressed by the commitment that almost every major industry body, including internet service providers, social networking sites and hardware manufacturers, has shown regarding the protection of young people, but there is no commonality...

I want to talk about video games in the final part of my remarks. I know that Keith Vaz... has several concerns about this issue, so he has arrived [late] at just the right moment.

Part of the problem with video games... is that there is no hard evidence to prove that playing a game will lead someone to go out and commit a crime or physical attack. Nevertheless, we agree that there is a probability that it could occur, and there is anecdotal evidence to support that view. The Video Recordings Act 1984 provided that games should be classified, that it is necessary to restrict certain games to people over a certain age... and that there would be games that should be banned entirely. That system has been generally successful since then, although there is often controversy about individual games...

Edward Vaizey (Conservative): I invite my hon. Friend, in the tone of his remarks, to make the point that when we talk about harmful video games and films, we are talking about a small minority. Does he agree that it is incumbent on hon. Members to remind the House as often as possible, when they talk about video games, that we have a most successful video games industry in this country, which employs thousands of people?

John Whittingdale (Conservative): My hon. Friend is entirely right. The video games industry is increasingly important and generates more money than the film industry. It is something that we are very good at. We are a creative nation, and many of the most successful games were developed here. We strongly support the games industry's efforts to ensure that it remains strong in this country and is not poached by other countries such as Canada, which is attempting to attract it there.

Keith Vaz (Labour): ...The fact remains that some of those games, even though they are a minority, are very violent. The hon. Gentleman and I have both commented on the video internet game "Kaboom" in which people replicate the activities of a suicide bomber. It cannot be right that the makers of those games should choose such storylines to provide entertainment, especially on the internet, where our children and under-18s can access them more easily than if they were going into a shop to buy them, as with non-internet games?

John Whittingdale (Conservative): This is a very difficult area and "Kaboom", which has been around for a little while, is an interesting example. It is a remarkably crude, cartoon-type game and is not in the least realistic, as many games now are. It is undoubtedly tasteless and might be offensive to a large number of people. I suspect that it is probably distressing to anyone who has suffered a bereavement as the result of a suicide bombing. Does that mean that it should be banned? I am not convinced that it should, because it is so crude, and other games pose greater concerns.

Edward Vaizey (Conservative): May I make a point to my hon. Friend? In his response to Keith Vaz, he has implied that "Kaboom" is somehow a legitimate video game that breaches the boundaries of taste, but it is not. It was created by an individual in his bedroom. To say that we should ban "Kaboom" is, with the greatest respect to my hon. Friend, slightly missing the point."Kaboom" is not subject to any legal constraints. It cannot be submitted to a regulator to be classified, because it is made by an individual, effectively illegally, outside the mainstream... It is not at all part of the mainstream video games industry. (more after the jump)

Video Games Linked to Rape in Parliament Debate

March 3, 2008 -

Although we can't think of a single commercial video game with an interactive rape scene, British MP - and frequent game critic - Keith Vaz (left) made sexual violence sound like a gaming staple in a debate on Friday.

As reported by Spong, the issue under consideration was Conservative MP Julian Brazier's bill to bring additional censorship to games in the U.K. Although Brazier's attempt ultimately failed, Vaz, not surprisingly, was a supporter:

Someone sitting at a computer playing a video game, or someone with one of those small devices that young people have these days, the name of which I forget - PlayStations or PSPs, something of that kind...

Well, whatever they are called, when people play these things, they can interact. They can shoot people; they can kill people. As the honourable Gentleman said, they can rape women.


Conservative MP Edward Vaizey, speaking later, questioned Vaz's rape assertion:

...the right honourable Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz), who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, mentioned that some video games allow the participant to engage in a rape act... I checked the point with the BBFC and found it to be completely unaware of any such video game.

 

Is the honourable Gentleman aware of any video game that has as its intention the carrying out of rape or that allows the game player to carry out such an act? The BBFC and I are unaware of any such game.


Vaz, however, was not present to respond to Vaizey. But the frequent game critic also took time to paint the U.K.'s video game industry and gaming press as malign forces:

The industry is one of the strongest and most powerful in the media today, and London is the centre of that industry.

 

Whenever those of us who raise the issue of video games have done so positively in relation to concerns about violence, we have been pilloried in the press that is sponsored by the video games industry for trying in some way to destroy it.


Link to full debate here...

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
james_fudgethere's some inside baseball stuff going on in this Andrew - likely some stuff we don't know10/20/2014 - 3:30pm
E. Zachary KnightGreat musical video about online trolling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nS-QeM2ne810/20/2014 - 2:46pm
Andrew EisenBut again, this whole thing is just too damn vague to form an opinion on.10/20/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenWithout the original communication, it's impossible to say if it could honestly be misconstrued as a friendly suggestion rather than an employer directive. However, it appears that subsequent emails should have cleared up any doubt.10/20/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenThose aren't the owner's words, they're Chris Dahlen's. For what it's worth, we do see an email from Gonzalez stating "you've already broken the only rule we set for you!!!!!!!"10/20/2014 - 2:38pm
Michael ChandraSo really the guy's own words strike me as "wah! How dare you disagree with me!" behaviour, which is the sort of childish attitude I am unfortunately not surprised by.10/20/2014 - 2:17pm
Michael ChandraCorrect AE, but then again the owner's own words are about "wishes", not about an order. No "we told him not to", but going against his wishes.10/20/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonyup. sadly that has been true for awhile.10/20/2014 - 2:10pm
james_fudgewelcome to 2014 politics. Increasingly fought online10/20/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightIt is honestly a shame that anyone has to publicly state they are against such vile behavior, but that is the sad life we live.10/20/2014 - 1:46pm
E. Zachary KnightDecided to publicly reiterate my opposition to harassment campaigns. http://randomtower.com/2014/10/just-stop-with-the-harassment-and-bullying-campaigns-already/10/20/2014 - 1:45pm
Andrew EisenMichael Chandra - Unless I overlooked it, we haven't seen how the directive to not talk about whatever he wasn't supposed to talk about was phrased so it’s hard to say if it could have been misconstrued as a suggestion or not.10/20/2014 - 12:35pm
Andrew EisenHey, the second to last link is the relevant one! He actually did say "let them suffer." Although, he didn't say it to the other person he was bickering with.10/20/2014 - 12:29pm
Neo_DrKefkahttps://archive.today/F14zZ https://archive.today/SxFas https://archive.today/1upoI https://archive.today/0hu7i https://archive.today/NsPUC https://archive.today/fLTQv https://archive.today/Wpz8S10/20/2014 - 11:21am
Andrew EisenNeo_DrKefka - "Attacking"? Interesting choice of words. Also interesting that you quoted something that wasn't actually said. Leaving out a relevant link, are you?10/20/2014 - 11:04am
quiknkoldugh. I want to know why the hell Mozerella Sticks are 4 dollars at my works cafeteria...are they cooked in Truffle Oil?10/20/2014 - 10:41am
Neo_DrKefkaAnti-Gamergate supporter Robert Caruso attacks female GamerGate supporter by also attacking another cause she support which is the situation happening in Syia “LET SYRIANS SUFFER” https://archive.today/F14zZ https://archive.today/Wpz8S10/20/2014 - 10:18am
Neo_DrKefkaThat is correct in an At-Will state you or the employer can part ways at any time. However Florida also has laws on the books about "Wrongful combinations against workers" http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/448.04510/20/2014 - 10:07am
james_fudgehe'd die if he couldn't talk about Wii U :)10/20/2014 - 9:16am
Michael ChandraBy the way, I am not saying Andrew should stop talking about Wii-U. I find it quite nice. :)10/20/2014 - 8:53am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician