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MP shows strong support for games

Says they will be "dominant" this century.

Labour MP Tom Watson believes videogames will be this century's defining cultural medium, and that Gordon Brown's Government had better sit-up and start taking notice of them.

"I'm pretty certain games will be the dominant cultural phenomenon of this century and for a country to ignore that is a mistake," Watson told GamesIndustry.biz.

"Times are tough at the moment: we're in a recession; it's very hard to find any tax breaks for any industry. But I think it's really important that we put a big strategic stamp on the games industry and say, this is an industry we want to nurture and support."

Watson's behind a Facebook group called Gamers' Voice that came about "because there was one Daily Mail article too many, knocking games, knocking gamers". Within two weeks the group had 15,000 supporters.

What exactly Gamers' Voice will do Watson isn't sure, but he's keen to see a legitimate body set-up that will provide a mouth through which gamers can be heard in the UK.

"I'm thinking about - although I want the members to decide how to set it up - is to be the equivalent in gaming of what the Football Supporters' Association is in football. They're going to give a platform to ordinary people who are going out there and just love playing games," said Watson.

Watson's hope - fuelled by the media furore over Modern Warfare 2 - is that there will be serious opposition to the common games-make-children-violent argument bandied about too readily by the likes of Keith Vaz and other politicians at the moment.

"Yeah, look, we're in this together and this is about building a better society. We had this same debate when VHS came out 25-30 years ago, about will kids be exposed to 18-content films. Yes they were, we had some education, and now parents are pretty responsible about what their kids can watch on DVDs," he said.

Head over to GamesIndustry.biz for the full interview with Tom Watson.

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Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is a long-time writer and now podcaster for Eurogamer. He loves telling a story and listening to them.

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