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Maguire: We need to support BAFTA more

"It's not all about one night of awards" says SCE UK boss ahead of Hilton bash

Sony Computer Entertainment UK boss, Ray Maguire - who is also chair of the BAFTA Video Games committee - has told GamesIndustry.biz that it's time for the industry to get fully behind the Academy and support it in putting out a strong positive message to the mainstream.

"I feel that if you take film and TV, and you look at what surrounds them in terms of the awards, you see the glamour," Maguire said ahead of the Video Game Awards tonight. "It gets media coverage - the consumers, the media, the public look at that and see an environment they want to be associated with. They'd love to go to those awards - it's entertainment, and it's special.

"We, on the other hand, have many internal awards but they're not facing the consumer. In a time when it's tough out there, what we really need is the consumers to look at the games industry and see that it's all about art, creativity, innovation and great entertainment. We need to be proud of what we do, and we need to be proud of it in front of consumers.

"We do very little that faces consumers - this is the best way of doing it. And also, I think we have every right to eat at the same table as film and TV with pride. Many years ago I would have felt embarrassed, that we weren't actually worthy of it, but now we certainly are.

"Commercially we're as successful, technology-wise we have some ground-breaking technology, and the crossover is immense in terms of post production. So therefore I think we have every right to be part of it, and every right to be proud of the creativity we have. To reward it is exactly where the industry needs to be.

And he was also clear on the Academy's overall remit, pointing out that while most people consider BAFTA as award hosts, there's actually a lot more that goes on.

"I think historically there's been a lot of doubt as to why BAFTA were even in this. The reality is that BAFTA understands that gaming is now a major part of entertainment, but maybe there was some confusion as to what that actually meant, maybe some people thought it was about revenue?

"Maybe they didn't know, and actually people still don't know, that BAFTA is a charity. It's not about revenue, it's purely about educating the public on excellence and innovation in the moving image.

So I think we still need to get some more process into BAFTA from people within the creative side of our business, and that's why I'm asking for more members as well, to help shape this.

"But people do need to support BAFTA more - I'd like to see people come to us with ideas on things to do, because it's not all about one night of awards, it's about 365 days of educating the public about what we do."

Call of Duty 4 is among the most popular titles in the awards nominations, and the winners will be published tomorrow morning.

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Phil Elliott

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