Codemasters, Konami join Change4Life debate

The UK bosses of Konami and Codemasters have added their names to the growing list of publishers unhappy with the Government’s latest Change4ife print ad.

The ad – which depicts a young boy sitting on a sofa under the words, ‘Risk an early death. Just do nothing’ – has already inspired a critical reaction from many other corners of the video games industry, including Sega, Atari, Future Publishing, TIGA, ELSPA and MCV.

The ad forms part of the Government’s Change4Life Campaign, and was created by agency The Gate in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK.

Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens told MCV:

"Governments have a unique ability to get it wrong. Their track record to do so spans centuries. As usual, they are out of touch, respond too late and their so called facts or intelligence is normally flawed. This is certainly so in this case.

They are ignorant of the good that video games do. Look at The Paddington Academy, look at social interaction skills, look at the support of sporting events, look at support given to prospective Olympic hopefuls via The Ron Pickering trust in the past, look at help provided to worthwhile causes such as LIFT and charities for young people with learning difficulties, epilepsy, meningitis, blindness and schemes for schools which are advocated by governments but which presumably should not now benefit?

It says a lot that those charities involved in the campaign did not have the antennae to approach the games industry. Maybe, it’s a case of: ‘What do they know anyway…’”

UK general manager of Konami Peter Stone added:

Konami has long been at the forefront of active video games, with our Dance Dance Revolution series recognised as a landmark title within the genre for over ten years. The game has been proven to aid fitness and has had a calorie counter as part of its content for many iterations.

"As such, we refute the accusations that gaming is a sedentary pastime, and feel such comments are damaging and do not reflect the wide range of activity-related titles that are both available and immensely popular.”

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