The last 12 months has seen the games industry make great strides in its efforts to fortify bonds with Government, but it seems that some old prejudices remain.
In a debate lead by Labour MP Diane Abbott on London gang crime at Westminster yesterday, MPs linked the problem of increased knife crime to the prevalence of violent video games and movies.
Speaking of a Home Affairs Committee report on knife crime, Liberal Democrat MP and former party leader candidate Simon Hughes stated: “The report then makes a controversial point, but I believe that it is true – evidence supported our view that violent DVDs and video games exert a negative influence on those who watch and play them.”
Fortunately subsequent talk of possible action on the subject focused more on the fight against knife possession as opposed to a possible crackdown on gaming.
Indeed, Abbott’s debate came on the same day as the Digital Economy Bill was discussed in the Commons, with plenty of praise heaped on the games industry.
“We agree with the Secretary of State about the critical importance of the digital and creative industries-the largest independent television production sector in the world, the second largest music exporter in the world and, depending on how we measure them, the third largest film and video games industries in the world,” said the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt.
Labour MP Sion Simon added: “As for video, in respect of the Bill's embracing of the pan-European game information-PEGI-standards, it is important that we in this House and the Government recognise more than ever that the video games industry is already very important to our national economy.”
Note the word of caution from old friend Keith Vaz, however, who warned: “My right honourable friend is right to mention the success of the creative industries. With reference to our children, the industry must act responsibly-with respect to video games, for example. Such responsibility must accompany the success of the digital revolution.”