The British government’s recent Change4Life print ad, which visually links playing video games with an early demise, continues to draw ire from the games industry. Adding to official complaints lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority by MCV, Tiga, and ELSPA are scathing comments from a variety of industry types.
Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens:
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.
Konami UK general manager Peter Stone:
Konami has long been at the forefront of active video games, with our Dance Dance Revolution series... 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.
James Binns, publishing director of Future (Official Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation magazines):
Using a child with a joypad to illustrate Change4Life is crass and misleading. The negative associations with gaming could be long lasting. There is no arguing that the campaign’s underlying message about premature death is incredibly important – but the government would never risk the wrath of showing a child sitting still reading a book to illustrate their point.
Sega Europe president and COO Mike Hayes:
Television, radio, cinema, listening to music, computing, video gaming and of course, reading all require a high element of passive participation, but of all these media types it is video gaming that provides the most potential interaction and activity. It seems that an advertisement has been put together by a poorly informed advertising agency.
For its part, the Department of Health defended the ad:
We are not saying that children shouldn't play computer games or eat treats, but parents and children need to be aware of the benefits of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. The activities portrayed are examples of poor diet and lack of physical activity.