UK govt links games to "early death"

British Heart Foundation also among groups in anti-videogames attack

The UK government's Department of Health has launched an incredible attack on the videogames industry with an advertisement linking the playing of videogames to an "early death".

The poster, also backed by charities including The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research and Diabetes UK, shows an image of a child sitting on the floor holding a PlayStation controller in one hand, accompanied by the slogan: "Risk an early death, just do nothing."

The Change4Life campaign, which also features a second, similar advertisement with another child about to eat a cake, is aimed at promoting physical exercise in children, but the clear and public connotations will be unwelcome, to say the least, to an industry working hard to overcome unfounded stereotypes.

The government's own Byron Review last year noted that there was no solid evidence to link obesity to videogames, while the high profile launch and subsequent stellar sales of Nintendo's Wii Fit points towards an increasing trend of more active videogames on offer.

A Sony spokesperson was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

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Latest comments (10)

Dan Webb Editor-in-Chief, Xbox 360 Achievements11 years ago
Wow. Just wow. I love how they focus on games as a catalyst for their hate campaign yet they miss out the obvious television aspect. Way to remain unbiased.

Incredibly frustrating.
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Gordon John Theobald Senior Graphic Artist, Codemasters11 years ago
Yah agreed. This is insanity. Maybe they just want to get the BBFC in to save us all?
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
The fallacies involved with this kind of deduction are so numerous that a new study needs to be commissioned just to count them all.
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Alexander Cederholm Editor-in-Chief, GAMEcore.se11 years ago
I agree with all of the above but what I really would like to know if they are allowed to have a Sony controller in their ads? AND are they actually allowed to even have this campaign since it seems to have a biased agenda and that the study are plain lies and speculations. This is the same kind of talk we saw the CTA do when they claimed that there was a correlation betweem video games and aggresive behaviour.
The video games industry is not without fault but how about focus on REAL things rather than made up stuff and guess work? And as you said... TV/movies would be a much worse offender in this case.
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Bastian Nehrke Localisation Producer, Nintendo of Europe11 years ago
...just another case of impulsive, aimless action. This looks like somebody felt the urge to do something. And then... something... happens. The financial crisis dit not hit certain people hard enough if there is still money for an advertising campaign like this.
One should put an ad right next to it:

"Risk your credibility. Don't think. Just do."
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Sam Brown Lead Audio Programmer, TT Games11 years ago
I love the fact that I also spent my childhood sitting on my arse doing nothing at except... reading. Reading is also a socially unacceptable activity, don't just pick on games! ;)

I'm still not overweight, either. Never was. Reading must burn more calories than playing games.
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Julian G Harding Video Media Editor, SOS Publications11 years ago
No cake or video games? Imagine the long and joyless life. But at least it's long! But it's joyless... But long. Oh the conundrum.
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Dwain Hill11 years ago
They should be focusing on the positive aspects of exercise and spending money on improving sports facilities rather than taking a cheap shot at the games industry.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
Excuse me while I do my daily Wii Fit routine and then sit at work all day reading and writing stuff.

Funny, video games are keeping me in shape while my job is 'killing me'.
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Franck Sauer Creative / Tech Art Director, Fresh3d11 years ago
You guys didn't get it right. Looking at the kid blank stare, you can see he is actually waiting for his game to download, doing nothing. The ad is obviously targeted at ISP and their slow bandwidth connections :P
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