UKIE has launched a new initiative, taking place this weekend (June 20th and 21st) which is designed to address loneliness in the UK. The PLAY & Talk weekend is taking place during National Loneliness Awareness Week and is part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) #Let’sTalkLoneliness campaign, which aims to tackle the stigma of loneliness.
Over 50 companies have supported the initiative, including EA, 2K, Ubisoft, Sega and Wargaming. Additionally, influencers are also showing support, including The Yogscast Network, to share directly with their communities.
“Video games have given many of us a form of escapism in lockdown and brought many people together as they connect online,” commented Creative Industries Minister Caroline Dinenage. “So this weekend, as part of our Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign, I encourage people to pick your game of choice, play with family and friends but also take time to talk about how you are feeling and faring.
“We have to take a variety of approaches to tackle loneliness and I am delighted that the video games sector is on board supporting our important work in this area.”
A recent survey from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) discovered that people aged 16 to 24 are more than twice as likely (50.8%) to have experienced loneliness due to the lockdown measures brought in the fight the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen people around the world turn to video games to socialise and have fun with friends and family during the pandemic,” said Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie). “It’s when we’re in these friendly and relaxed environments that we feel most at ease opening up, and right now there’s no better or safer way for people to do that than in video games.”
In support of the initiative, askaboutgames has put together a list of tips of how to take part in the weekend, as well as some recommendations for family-friendly games to play online. UKIE and askaboutgames have collaborated in the past, when in March they launched the Family Video Game database, a resource “on everything about games including the family controls that help parents and carers manage the amount of time games can be played at home”.