Watson: Panorama addiction doc "anachronistic and inaccurate"
MP blasts BBC documentary as "hackneyed"
MP for Bromwich East Tom Watson has labelled the Panorama special on games 'addiction' as anachronistic and inaccurate.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz last week, Watson revealed his disappointment that the program's makers had not sought to present a more balanced picture by speaking to people who were making lives better with games and gaming, instead choosing to focus on the perceived negative aspects of the medium.
"It was a heavily editorialised piece," said Watson of the documentary. "I wish they'd reached out a little bit more to talk to other people. They could have talked to some of the people who are doing very positive things with games - they could have talked to Graham Brown-Martin, he could have put them in touch with some of the greatest teachers in the country who are capturing the imagination of young people every day using off-the-shelf game packages.
"It's a pity that they rehearsed a quite hackneyed mantra really about games doing bad things for children. We know that, in life, anything done to excess can have a downside. No-one seriously disagrees with that. But to try and project the games industry as trying to deliberately deprive people of sleep, money, time, work and social contact is basically anachronistic and inaccurate."
The documentary, which dealt with a number of children and young adults who were perceived as having been damaged somehow by excessive use of games, aroused widespread contempt from industry figures when it aired earlier this month. GamesIndustry.biz spoke to the program's director Emeka Onono to gauge his thoughts on the show's reception.
Watson is a keen proponent of the games industry in parliament, vocally supporting industry tax breaks and promoting games to the parliamentary agenda. Read the rest of our exclusive interview with him on the front page today.