Last week, an ad from the Change4Life Campaign was placed all over the U.K. depicting a young boy holding a video game controller with large text over his head reading: "Risk an early death. Just do nothing." Nowhere in that ad did it explicitly say video games could cause children to die early, but the message was there, and a handful of video game developers took offense.
Codemasters' CEO Rod Cousens said, "Governments have a unique ability to get it wrong." Sega Europe President and COO Mike Hayes said in an interview that he and the rest of the employees at his company were "very disappointed" with the ad. He went on to say that "it remains a deep frustration that video gaming is selected to present a negative image of the U.K.'s children, youth, consumer at large and the industry."
Atari issued a statement saying "at best, the campaign is misleading and at worst, damaging to the industry, its reputation and its potential." It followed that up by registering a formal complaint with the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority.
For its part, the U.K. Department of Health said in a statement that the ads 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."
This wasn't the government's first attack on the video game industry. The U.K. government, through this Change4Life campaign, earlier this year released a commercial showing a child playing a video game and then used the camera to zoom in to his body to show fat building up. He's later shown as an effigy of himself in the video game, with the phrase "Game Over" displayed on-screen.
Once again, the U.K. Department of Health said in a statement that it wasn't attacking video games, but it wanted to remind parents that an "unhealthy lifestyle, including poor diet or being inactive, can lead to health problems in later life."
Where's the outcry? Where are the major developers, like EA and Activision, speaking out against this? Why isn't the video game industry doing more to battle this Change4Life campaign? Sega and Atari, with their cryptic messages, won't do anything to change how video games are treated. More needs to be done.… Read more