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Wilson: Byron Review confirms games are "central to society"

By Phil Elliott

Fri 28 Mar 2008 10:31am GMT / 6:31am EDT / 3:31am PDT
PoliticsTIGA News

Tiga CEO welcomes balanced view on violence, but believes the government should share ad campaign bill


TIGA is the trade association representing the UKs games industry. The majority of our members are...

Tiga CEO Richard Wilson has told that he believes the Byron Review, published yesterday, is a "good thing" and proves that videogames are "central to society".

And despite some reservations about a couple of the proposals he's also pleased with the balanced view on the perceived link between games and violence.

"I think in essence the Byron Review is a good thing," he said. "I know some people in the industry will ask why we've been singled out, but in some respects I think it represents a great opportunity for the industry.

"It confirms that the industry is central to society, there are so many different economic sectors that would love to be in that position - it's dominated the newspapers, it's dominated a lot of the radio and television, so that's fantastic.

"It's also good I think that Tanya Byron has pieced together a pretty balanced report when it comes to violence and videogames, and education on the perceived connection between the two."

The reservations, outlined in the official Tiga statement yesterday, focus on the proposed industry-funded ad campaign, and whether or not the BBFC can step up to its new role.

"I do think that some of the measures she has proposed will present some challenges for the industry, in particular the proposal on industry funding a big campaign to explain the ratings system to the public," he said. "I'm not enthusiastic about that, I think it's a measure that should be shared with the government.

"I don't think it's reasonable to expect for the industry to pay for an ongoing campaign. I think at this time we don't want to impose extra costs on games developers, or the games business in general.

"With regards to the ratings systems proposal she's brought forward I think my main concern there would be about the capacity of the BBFC to deliver the things that she wants them to deliver, because as I understand it, the BBFC would have to assess and rate a much larger proportion of games.

"So it would have to be properly resourced, it would have to take on people with proper experience in videogames - so that's quite a challenge for the BBFC, although we'll have to see what the consultation document says about that.

"But I think on balance I don't think it's a bad report for the industry, I think in some senses it represents a great opportunity," he added.

Richard Wilson, who replaced Fred Hasson as Tiga boss at the end of January, spoke to in a wide-ranging interview, part one of which will be published next week, when he'll explain his views on the industry landscape - both the social and political views.

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