O'Briain: Games don't need mainstream

"Nerds will hang around," insists BAFTA host.

Comedian Dara O'Briain believes the games industry should accept it will never have the "spurious bauble of mainstream approval" and it "doesn't matter" because gaming's influence on culture is "more profound than whatever the latest Heat magazine-approved television show is".

Speaking to Eurogamer today, the host of BAFTA Video Games Awards said: "We've got to get over the whole perception thing. It's not an industry that supplies stars for red carpets and photo shoots. No-one wants to see a photograph of Master Chief on his holidays."

The Irish funnyman - a big gamer - argued that it was futile to expect the same media attention enjoyed by TV, music and movies, as "that whole ancillary industry is simply never going to be there for you.

"We've all just got to presume it's never going to have that particular publicity, but that doesn't really matter," he added. "There are consoles in 50 per cent of houses in the country and it's a multi-billion pound industry and it's becoming a strong aesthetic in movies and beginning to influence everything."

He cited the huge popularity of US TV show Gossip Girl as an example. "Is that really what we're chasing after? No. I don't care about going after the cool kids. I couldn't give a sh*t. They're not going to hang around anyway.

"The nerd audience don't talk down to them, because they're the ones that will hang around. Don't patronise the very people who are your core audience."

O'Briain was in London to promote the full line-up of nominations for this year's gaming BAFTAs, announced this morning. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood leads the field with seven nominations, followed by Call of Duty: Black Ops and Heavy Rain with six a piece, Mass Effect 2 with five, and LIMBO and Super Mario Galaxy 2 with four.

O'Briain, who was also on the jury alongside Eurogamer that decided the shortlist for the public-vote GAME Award, said his favourite game of 2010 was probably LIMBO, adding that the range and variety of titles up for prizes showed "how broad the church is".

On his personal gaming habits, he revealed: "I veer between the PS3 and Xbox. Jonathan Ross has some specially designated room and Mario on his ceiling for Christ's sake. I've got a telly."

He added that he dabbled with online gaming every now and then, but stopped using a headset because, "I felt I was grooming it just felt creepy and weird."

This year's GAME British Academy Video Games Awards take place on 16th March at London's Park Lane Hilton, with the full ceremony streamed live at www.bafta.org.

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