SCEE's Ray Maguire responds to 'Change4Life' ad, addresses industry stereotypes

  • Posted March 20th, 2009 at 15:19 EDT by Eric Blattberg

Now that the public no longer believes that video games are for children, people have now attached themselves to the notion that most gamers are fat, sedentary, and lazy, as evidenced by The Gate's controversial Change4Life advert. Ray Maguire, Sony Computer Entertainment U.K. managing director, has provided his take on the situation.

"I must admit that when I first saw the Change 4 Life ‘PlayStation’ ad I felt exactly the same way as everyone else," Maguire begins. "How could this happen? How could the Department of Health and the charities, the ad agency, all get this so wrong?"

"...Anyone who knows anything about games," he continues, "which is half the population these days, will have immediately dismissed the ad as irrelevant. The other half, who don’t play games, would have immediately accepted the stereotype."

For all of the change the video game industry has gone through over the last few years, Maguire believes the public's perception of the industry has remained largely static.

"The industry has changed more in the past five years than in the previous 15, but the general public’s image of this industry has hardly changed at all.

"As the BAFTA Video Game Awards recently demonstrated, this is now a grown-up industry centered on art, creativity and innovation."

How, then, can we get the public to recognize that?

"The games industry must constantly demonstrate when it has been a cause for good," advises Maguire. "We must explore what elements we have that are positive, such as our contribution to GDP and technical training at colleges and in-house. We provide hugely good value entertainment and we have growing links with education. We are a modern, growing industry that promotes art and creativity. The products that we make often aid social interaction, improving life skills and even fitness. ELSPA and the industry at large must find ways of getting a lot closer to the Government, to assist them with their tasks. We must become partners.

"Then the stereotype might just fade."

Head on over to MCV to read Maguire's full editorial.

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