Backbench MP Keith Vaz – better known within the industry for his frequent outbursts on violent games – has changed, says leading politicians.
The revelation came during ELSPA’s Question Time on Monday night.
Labour’s Tom Watson, Conservatives’ Ed Vaizey and Lib Dem’s Don Foster were asked about the attitude of politicians towards the games industry, and the three insisted that they were changing – and that even Keith Vaz has softened his views.
“Keith has been on a journey,” said Labour’s Tom Watson.
“Over the last 12 months his views have shifted quite significantly. Partly because he read what Tanya Byron had to say, partly because the industry had engaged with him and wouldn’t let him get away with factually inaccurate comments, and partly because he is getting kicked to death in the tearoom when the cameras aren’t there.
“There is a maturing of the industry and there are a lot of MPs trying to understand the games industry more.
“The industry needs to be bold and be confident, and not overreact when politicians make silly comments. Because we do make them from time-to-time.”
Conservative’s Ed Vaizey added: “A while back Keith brought up the issue of the Japanese game that allowed you to play as a suicide bomber. I knew he was going to bring it up in advance, so I contacted the industry to understand the situation. And I managed to intervene on Keith to let him know it was just a rogue operation, a game made in someone’s bedroom – just like anyone can make an unpleasant film in his or her rooms.
“I challenged him on that. But it is important that you challenge when you see these inaccuracies. You should use all the tools and techniques available to raise the good side of the industry with Parliament.”
And Liberal Democrat’s Don Foster concluded: “When Keith made his comments about the suicide bomber game, he began by saying ‘I would like to make it clear I think the video games industry is doing a lot of good work.’ And I was delighted to be the one that followed him to speak next, because it was the first time I had heard him say something like that.
“ELSPA and TIGA has really got their acts together as an effective lobbying groups, to make sure the key players in Parliament are well briefed on the key issues, so that those of us who are your supporters can get the right message out in Parliament.”
So what do you think? Is Keith Vaz a changed man?