BBC could be "perfect ambassador" for UK industry

BBC Worldwide "super interested" in using brand to promote UK talent

BBC Worldwide EVP Robert Nashak has said that the broadcaster is actively looking at how it can use the BBC brand to champion the cause of UK games development.

Speaking with Eidos life president Ian Livingstone during the Game Horizon conference in Newcastle today, Nashak said the corporation is open to suggestions about how it can work closer with the independent developer community and help promote the UK scene to a worldwide audience.

"We're super interested in that," commented Nashak. "We are the perfect ambassador for indie game development in the UK and around the world, so we're looking at ways to do that.

"Imagine the BBC for the games world represents the best and the brightest from the UK and promotes the industry, and the good contribution we can make."

BBC Worldwide currently works with independent games developers on a number of educational and entertainment branded titles for online and mobile formats.

One of those companies, Reloaded, told that it hopes to convince broadcasters and educators to think more as a publishing company rather than just as a brand licensor, in-turn helping the independent and social games scenes grow.

"That can work for brands and educators, and we feel like we've done it pretty successful on Channel 4 Education, and we're working with another couple of clients trying to do the same thing," said Preloaded's Phil Stuart.

"The idea of being able to engage an immediate audience directly through games portals or via iTunes or Xbox is a really exciting thing for them, because it used to be just a few triple-A game studios - but now they can come to us and say 'we want reach this audience around this piece of science' and we can reach them through loads of different channels. "

Nashak also said that he didn't feel there was a wider problem at the BBC with the service accepting of a games agenda even if it's not necessarily reflected in wider entertainment programming.

"We only get into issues around the exploitation of games, where the commercial value lies. That's a sticky problem but it’s a reasonable one to have. In general it's been a good relationship so far."

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Latest comments (21)

BBC could be good for local UK games, but perhaps some more commonsense in re distributing work around locally in UK. Eg. DRWHO MMO - being subcontracted overseas, as there are many outstanding creative local talents who could produce a stellar job whilst keeping it within the UK plc.
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Paul Smith Dev 10 years ago
The bbc has 672 hours a week of tv airtime and there isn't even one 30 minute show about video games (well unless its about how addicting games are....) Maybe they should start with that 1st before moving onto being a "champion" of the industry.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 10 years ago
After Panorama? :P

I would have pictured Channel 4 being a little better but maybe it's just me.
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Show all comments (21)
Ashley Stephens10 years ago
Actually theres a fair few programs about gaming, while a lot of them are also about technology they do include games, most of them are at crazy hours though and the only real "gaming" show right now is Charlie Brookers Gameswipe which gets shown on BBC4 every couple of weeks.
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All it needs is a Good panorama that shows how Gaming (imagine a gaming version of hammond's engineering connections) is a International, high tech, multi skilled( requires advanced programming ,physics, creatives, MBAs, production focused), low carbon emission, a global £30bn industry by 2012, advanced metrics and PR industry and totally mainstream whereby it inspires future tech R&D, with fringe applications - defense (remote droids, counter intelligence, ROVs), manufacturing, next gen tech (silicon plastics, chipsets, portable peripherals), etc etc.

Maybe this will help good ole George to sit up, and realise Gaming, and thus Entertainment is UK's mainstream bread and butter, with no UNION strikes to ever worry about. We just want to work and produce great products internationally.
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Richard Westmoreland Senior Game Designer, Codemasters Birmingham10 years ago
I fully agree. Gaming needs to get as much attention as music and film do on TV. Even a fraction of it would be nice.
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Kieran MacGough Studying Computer Games Design & Programming, Staffordshire University10 years ago
If BBC start showing e-sports like MLG and Dreamhack on TV, then maybe people will take the games industry as importantly as the sports industry.

I can see the BBC taking the gaming industry in the wrong direction. As was said, the only shows on BBC channels are about how addicting they are or how violent they are.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend10 years ago

BBC for ambassadors to the games industry!! Am I the only one who thinks that is an extremely BAD idea and will only end in tears?

We all know that interactive media will replace the standard passive television/movies, it is inevitable IMO.

Let us not forget that the games industry directly threatens the TV industry, namely the BBC and the very stable licence fee they get off millions of UK residents.

Has everyone forgotten how the BBC treated the games industry up to now on their shows? I say 'Piss off BBC, stick to ruining your own industry.”

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Stuart Brown Freelance Artist 10 years ago
I really think having a company like the BBC in charge of the UK industry, might actually do harm to all the creativity and good ideas that are coming from small developers. Doctor Who and Red Dwarf are the only sci-fi fantasy classics that have come from the beeb since they began. I love their nature documentaries, but videogames are 95% Sci-fi, fantasy and action based, I can’t help but think that they would start hiring the wrong people.
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Kristian Fosh Director, DreamFever10 years ago
I think theres a LOT to be said for the BBC - is anyone watching Luther? If they use their adult IP's as well as their younger IP's they could make for a huge audience. The BBC's got a huge catalogue of great characters and shows of their own, from cbeebies up to hustle, maybe!?
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The only creative way it would work is if a independent panel of industry folk have full creative control including adjuncts to sound advice to the beeb. There should not be any creative decision coming from the beeb board. This allows the experts to do the best specialist job for the masses
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Paul Smith Dev 10 years ago
@Ashley Stephens - Unfortunately gameswipe was a one-off special
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Alex Byrom Studying Multiplayer Online games design, Staffordshire University10 years ago
Click is the only games related program i can think off, there is one thats on channel M. Id love more game programs :-)
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Gareth Sharp freelance reviewer / beta tester 10 years ago
one word, BAD, BBC have a track record of infuriating the license payers, with their "necessary cuts", yet the license fee STILL rises and funds other "secret" projects of theirs.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend10 years ago
Oh, and don't forget the boss pays himself pretty much a million a year for spending taxpayer’s money.
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jim ellis 2D/3D artist, design, illustration, concept artist, video editor 10 years ago
BBC in the UK and BBC worldwide are completely different entities. Worldwide isnt funded by the licence fee and shouldnt be confused with the BBC as Uk consumers understand it. Worldwide is a commercial enterprise to the rest of the world for ANYTHING it can sell abroad....
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Andy Payne Chair/founder, AppyNation10 years ago
@drcheemingwong well said - that programme would help change perceptions. We are digital design and manufacturers in reality
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Anil Das-Gupta Smartphone Developer, Capcom10 years ago
If the BBC wants to act as an ambassador for the UK industry, they could start by creating some programs that cover gaming. To this day I honestly cannot believe that none of the major networks have a single show dedicated to gaming when it is such a ubiquitous part of everyday life in the world.
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Unfortunately, without any realistic, regular coverage of the wide plethora of gaming - this means the BEEB board may not be so up to date on the fast paced changing world of mainstream gaming.

The folk who cover Click are more clued in, however trying to get further authorization that gaming is mainstream will face some obstinate resistance (my own conjecture here btw)

eg. a summary of information soundbyte that may be useful, that 2011 is a era of :

- Minecraft
- Zynga - social casual spending spree
- Diminished AAA scene, but a more focused smaller cartel of FPS/adventure/action blockbusters
- Online gaming - predicted to spike to another £20bn (out of a £30 bn pie)
- Social gaming: quality products are being made everyday - both parts educational, escapist, stimulating and non violent
- Tablet and Portable gaming heats up
- Apps Apps Apps (this one they seem to partially understand - hence Beebs purchase of an extortionate loads of ipads...but I wonder what parts is because it looks convenient, sexy and cool rather than daily practicality, without prior public consultation)

Only critique is: BEEB doesn't always know best, and as such larger introduction of independent advisory board may be required
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Nik Love-Gittins Senior Character Artist, FreeStyleGames10 years ago
@jim ellis :- I didn't realise that. I was thinking that there may be some conflict with a publicly funded organisation producing commercial software, but if they are a different animal altogether it could work. If they use a company that can deliver something of the same quality as their high end drama and documentary work.
No offence to any companies that have developed stuff for them in the past, but nothing so far has been likely to set the gaming world on fire...

I also think that a documentary or something on the process of game development ( by anyone, not just the Beeb ) would set quite a few people straight on how hard it can be to actually make a game and the amount of effort that goes into it, and may even show that developers are mature, artistic and professional people* rather than the image that most people outside the industry have of us.
...provided I ever end up on camera... :P

*I accept that there may be some exceptions to this....

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Nik Love-Gittins on 29th June 2011 10:12am

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Just to second what Jim Ellis said: BBC Worldwide != BBC Television. Worldwide make most of their money from selling Dr Who etc box sets along with plastic Daleks around the world. They're much more the kind of people that the industry can work with than the Corporation itself, which as others have observed has a horrific history with games.

OTOH I'm pretty damn sure they have clout regarding properties such as the Dr Who MMO, and it certainly would have been nice if it hadn't been offshored without even trying to find a UK dev.
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