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UK industry figures defend games in front of select committee

Eidos and ELSPA do the talking.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Eidos exec Ian Livingstone has told a House of Commons select committee that parents must take responsibility for what children play - and that there's no evidence violent games can change behaviour.

Livingstone was in attendance at an evidence session held by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday, along with ELSPA director general Paul Jackson.

One of the issues under discussion was "concern about the nastier aspects of violent games", as raised by Labour MP Mike Hall.

Livingstone told the committee, "Not all games are violent games; in fact, the minority of them are violent.

"If you look at a game like, for example, Grand Theft Auto, where you see a lot of negative press, it's rather like judging the whole of the games industry on that game - would you judge the whole of the film industry on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?"

On the question of age ratings, Jackson assured the committee that "the industry does take it seriously as an issue" - referring to the ELSPA-backed Ask About Games initiative, which is designed to offer advice to parents.

"It's just straightforward; inappropriate material should not be seen or used by underaged kids," he added.

Livingstone said Eidos also takes its responsibilities as a publisher "very sincerely; we try our best to educate people".

However, he continued, "From my awareness and knowledge, there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that playing games can actually affect how you behave in real life... As long as you've got mature people buying mature content, they should be able to act responsibly."

When asked what's considered an excessive amount of time to spend playing games, Livingstone replied: "Games are addictive in the sense that anything you enjoy doing, you want to do again. It's a question of balance and control... Parents have to take responsibility.

"You know, I'd probably play golf all day given the chance, but you have to have a balance," he concluded.

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