When it has luminaries like Michael Grade (executive chairman of ITV) in charge. Just what was he thinking about when he said that video games exist in a ‘moral vacuum’ compared to television drama? Does he know anything about video games? Obviously not. Does he watch the execrable output of modern television? Obviously not. And his company just rewarded him with £6 millions worth of shares!!
Even Coronation Street, a soap opera broadcast in family viewing prime time, contains all sorts of moral turpitude and serves as a very poor role model for modern society. These days they think that it has to be nasty to get the ratings. And without the ratings they lose even more advertising revenue.
Grade made his inane comments in reply to John Riccitiello speech to the Royal Television Society’s Convention where the EA chief executive had told television’s top people that games are no more violent than TV programmes, adding that games were ‘unfairly demonised’ by the media for their violence.
We in the games industry know that Riccitiello is right. Only about 5% of games are rated 18+. And we have a rating system, which TV doesn’t. And current generation consoles have parental blocking, which TV doesn’t. Yet TV mainlines on the drug of violence. From children’s cartoons, through prime time soaps to late night gritty dramas we are bombarded with mindless violence. The lowest common denominator. A sad reflection on our society.
And the TV industry get away with this grim content almost totally without criticism. Whilst the Daily Mail and their ilk regularly parade their Pavlovian reactions and bigoted ignorance on the subject of games.
The truth is that Grade has to paint games black because he is fighting a rearguard action. And losing. TV is dying a slow death. Increasingly people want to do better things with their time than vegitate on the couch. And computer games are amongst those better things. So to Grade computer games are the enemy. Which is why he says such silly things.
Yet he is sitting on a mountain of IP that could be used to create great interactive entertainment. If he were to put serious money and effort into making games he could realise a lot more potential for making profit than TV is going to have. I am sure that many of us could tell him exactly how to go about it.
So do you get infuriated with the ignorance about gaming? Or do you think they are the devil’s spawn? Do you think that TV executives ought to learn how to do better things with their IP? Post your comments below.