COMMENT: Working together, giving together

As the ESC held its successful Golf and Spa Day (raising over 20,000 in the process), a new charity, GamesAid, was announced.

GamesAid is setting out to offer a new level of choice for participants at all levels and is happy to live alongside any ‘official’ industry charity. Its arrival sounds like good news, with an everyman philosophy and ultra-low running costs.

The future of the current official charity seems uncertain at best, with some claiming that it is already in the process of being wound up. The ESC was set up in 2000 by senior members of the UK games business. Its mission has been to raise money for children’s charities.

But there has been criticism that it’s only for the industry old guard, that it doesn’t really embrace all corners of the market and that there has been too much red tape and admin cost.

Maybe there’s some truth in those charges, maybe it is just a perception problem. But the fact remains that, whilst the ESC has raised significant sums over the past few years, many are in the mood for change.

Last week’s Golf and Spa Day proved a major success and perhaps disproved the theory that the ESC is just for the big cheeses – the event itself was organised by the young buck that is Richard Stickler of Gem Distribution.

And surely there’s room for another charitable organisation in the form of GamesAid? If some members of the industry feel more ‘at home’ within that body, there shouldn’t be a problem. Unless politics come into play.

Like the ESC, GamesAid has been established by leading industry execs and has stated its desire to be an ‘inclusive charity’ covering everyone from developers to retailers. Its first fund-raising activity will be a skydive on August 31st.

There’s no reason at all why different fund-raising initiatives cannot live alongside each other. Sony, Microsoft and EA, to name but three, often donate to charity under their own auspices.

Charity shouldn’t become a political football and no one needs to take sides. MCV will continue to back the Charity Golf and Spa Day and at the same time our publication, website and sister brands Develop and have pledged support to GamesAid.

Many others have too. Do what suits you best. But, most of all, do something.

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