The wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is back in the video game news thanks to her involvement with an obscure firm by the name of Magnitude Gaming. Although we were unable to locate a website, Magnitude is described by the Daily Mail as "one of a new breed of companies which manage semi-professional teams in the growing ‘e-sport’ world."
According to the Daily Mail, Blair, an attorney by profession, and her 23-year old son Nicky have accepted positions on the board of the fledgling company.
So why is this an issue? The Daily Mail sees hypocrisy in Blair’s involvement with a firm connected – at least peripherally – to violent video games, given that she previously signed on to a report linking violent games to a wave of stabbings in the UK:
The company has run a team playing the Counter-Strike combat game… There have been claims that perpetrators of massacres in the US and Germany have been fans of the game.
Only last year, Mrs Blair… chaired a major inquiry into the growth of knife and gun crime on Britain’s streets which acknowledged the ‘dire consequences on some young people’ of the video games and films they watched.
The resulting report stated: ‘The broader cultural context in which young people live – the music they listen to, the films they watch, the video games and sports they play – are important in articulating values, defining what is ‘cool’ and fashionable, and legitimising social norms.’
Magnitude founder Gabriel Moraes, who is Nicky Blair’s housemate, issued a statement on the flap:
Magnitude has never been involved with games containing any kind of street violence. We had one game involving soldiers in military combat but it had a rating of 18-plus and was a team game. We stopped involvement with that game some months ago.