TIGA: Perception of the industry "is getting better"

Richard Wilson responds to suggestions videogames industry needs "better PR"

TIGA CEO Richard Wilson has told that he has seen an improvement in the mainstream perception of the videogames industry in the past two years he's been in the job, and that more pro-active measures have been taken with the likes of the media and politicians to try to ensure a more balanced view is put forward.

He was responding to comments made last week by Audiomotion MD Mick Morris, who suggested that the industry in the UK "suffers from a PR problem," and that it deserved a better perception in the eyes of the wider public who tend to associate games with violent content.

"I fully sympathise with Mick's comments, but I do think that the situation is getting better," Wilson said. "One of our key priorities is to try and improve the profile of the industry, and try to create more coverage for the sector.

"I thought Mick's point about the ASA and the Change4Life advert was good - we responded to that, we made it quite clear that it was unacceptable, and the reasons we found it objectionable. And although Tiga's complaint was rejected I'm glad we did it - it shows that we weren't going to be pushed around as an industry.

"But I do think in many ways that the situation with the games industry is much better than it was - the fact that you have editorials in broadsheets praising Grand Theft Auto IV is obviously a major step forward, and I think we're going to see more of that in the future."

TIGA was one of the proponents of the Games Up campaign which ran last year and aimed to raise the awareness of certain issues in the industry, such as education and financing - but Wilson doesn't think another such effort is needed at this point.

"I think you've got to have a specific project with specific goals, and the Games Up project was such a campaign - and it transmogrified into being a campaign for tax breaks, which was very sensible.

"To have a campaign specifically designed to generate a positive image for the games industry, it needs to be much more open-ended. I think rather than having a specific campaign like Games Up I think it's just got to be something that trade associations like TIGA have to take on board day in, day out.

"If we had, speaking hypothetically, a run of really appalling publicity about the sector, then you might want to have a campaign - but I don't think that's the case any more. I think the situation is much better actually.

"We've taken some pro-active measures with respect to media coverage, where we're getting more positive mainstream coverage than we were two years ago. And we've also instigated the formation of the all-party group in Parliament on the videogames industry... I think that's a pro-active thing that's taken the initiative and is helping to educate MPs and establish a body in Parliament that can stand up for us."

Meanwhile ELSPA revealed that the NHS had agreed to allow forthcoming Nintendo release Wii Fit Plus to use its Change4Life logo on advertising - the first game to be able to do so, and a marked turnaround from the attitude previously, said director general Mike Rawlinson.

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