Watson: BBC could "really help" small developers

Labour MP keen to see publicly-funded UK broadcaster getting behind industry

Labour MP for West Bromwich East and founder of videogames pressure group Gamers' Voice, Tom Watson, has told that he would like to see the BBC look at ways to use its market presence to help small games developers.

The corporation, which is funded in the UK by the public license fee - currently GBP 142.50 for every household using its services on TV, radio or online - could allow developers to showcase applications or games on the BBC website, with the studio then able to look at commercial routes as well.

"I'd like it reflected in their output and in the way they procure games and digital content," said Watson on the subject of cultural equality between film, TV and videogames. "The BBC have spent GBP 1 billion on their website since 1994 - they could have breathed life into a lot of gaming companies if they'd got their contracts right and been generous with their licensing.

"I'm not blaming the BBC as all this is new and fast-moving, but I would like to see a point where they can use their muscle to help the small guys in the industry to get on with making great games, great applications. Yeah, sure, use it on the BBC site but let the developer go and come up with a commercial offer around that as well.

"I just think it needs the BBC to be a little more agile with small games businesses," he added. "They could really, really help if they used their clout to bring a bit of life to it."

The full interview with Tom Watson, in which he also talks about the role of games in education, and how parents should approach the subject of kids' play, is available now.

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