bbc.co.uk Navigation

Go west... and play games

  • Darren Waters
  • 1 Mar 07, 02:27 PM

Does the BBC "get" video gaming? I ask because I'm heading out to the Game Developers' Conference next week - an event we have never staffed before.

I ask also because I'm a passionate gamer and I know there is no dedicated gaming portal on bbc.co.uk - although you will find one for arts, film, movies and books.

Nor is there a TV programme or radio show devoted to games.

So, the BBC doesn't care about gaming? Well, I don't think that's strictly true.

Collective, the BBC's interactive culture magazine, has a regular section set aside for gaming and also reviews titles.

And like any large organisation, the BBC is full of gamers - although some are more nervous than others when it comes to revealing their pastime.

Within the technology team of the news website conversation often turns to recent gaming exploits - I was recently delighted to have broken 1,000 gamer score points on Xbox Live. (And yes, I know how pitiful a score that is to some people).

My colleague Mark creeps away to Azeroth, and the World of Warcraft, whenever he can elude family matters.

On the Technology section we used to do a weekly games review but recently decided to drop it.

More proof of a gaming apathy? The truth is we didn't have the resources to do games reviews often enough or well enough. There are so many other great websites doing reviews - my own favourites being Eurogamer and Gamespot - that we didn't want to offer something half-baked.

I asked myself if the best use of resources we have was to do the occasional review? And the answer was a simple "no".

But we haven't abandoned games coverage; in fact, the reverse is true. I'm determined we do MORE games coverage than ever, using the access that the BBC has to do better features, in more depth.

One of the team is on a dedicated games feature assignment - although that's only lasting a month to get the ball rolling. From that point on we'll be ensuring games journalism is as important as any other part of technology news.

And this is what takes me west - to the Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco. It's a massive event that signals the way ahead for an enormously important industry.

I'll be reporting on all the key sessions, establishing contacts and hopefully producing some quality material.

If there are any sessions you have seen that you feel we should attend, let me know.

And also feel free to comment on how you think the BBC as a whole should be covering video games.

I doubt we are going to see a prime-time gaming slot on BBC One any time soon. So how can we reflect this dynamic industry?

I'm sure you've got some strong opinions...

Comments   Post your comment

From that point on we'll be ensuring games journalism is as important as any other part of technology news. Why do you see games journalism as technology news? How is it different from film or music news? Are not home cinema systems every bit as "technological" as consoles? Until the BBC recognises games as content, right next to arts, film, music and books rather than technology it’s safe to say the the BBC doesn’t “get” video gaming.

Considering there are a lot of people in this country and in the world who play games, why shouldn't it be covered on the BBC. I myself play World of warcraft and I'm alwasy interested to read the BBC's persective on the game. I also avidly read the technology section. I know there are many websites dedicated to gamers but some are bias and that is one of the things the BBC does so well. It gives frank unbias opnions of the things that matter most.

Interesting post Darren. Nice to know you will be covering the GDC, it is always a fascinating event. It will be interesting to see how games coverage on the BBC does develop as it is a hugely important part of modern culture all over the world and as you say is being overlooked on the site at the moment.

As a side note, I'm a freelance games journalist always on the look out for new work and opportunities. I'd be really interested in discussing this with you if you can get in touch with me. I would try guessing your email address as your Flickr profile suggests, but I don't want to be rude!

As long as we stick to good decent gaming topics and not go down this road that gaming makes bad kids and encourages violence... please! And remember.. the 360 may be powerful, the Wii ingenious, the PS3 expensive... but the PC still remains the leader ;) Lets just see how l33t the BBC can be, w00t! :P

  • 5.
  • At 12:33 PM on 02 Mar 2007,
  • Kenneth James wrote:

Your games coverage is pretty poor in general as your "writers" are not that experienced in the field. I find the writers to lack the knowledge a proper games journalist.

You want incisive games journalism? Why not take a look at something like this:

http://worldofstuart.excellentcontent.com/swiz2/swiz2.htm

That's proper games journalism. A review and a proper story within it to boot. Read and learn.

What about replacing some of the repeats on BBC3 with a weekly game show?

  • 7.
  • At 12:49 PM on 02 Mar 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

This topic and other topics, trying to making Gaming out to be the source of all societys issues

The fact that such a survey was based on 'Questioning' and throws some percentage statistic of what was it? 27% of all drivers will drive faster if they have recently played a driving game.

I fear the bbc is out of touch with this generation in regards to certain issues and really needs to buck up its ideas if it wants to appeal to younger audiences also.

Professional gaming in places like Korea and China has really taken off, with Starcraft being shown on some channels. Admittedly it does have a similar popularity to what we may consider when looking at professional wrestling, yet still, it's a step forward.

I have always been very surprised at the lack of a dedicated games service on the BBC. It does take time and resources but can be concise and detailed (look at GameCentral on the teletext pages of Channel 4 - a cult hit with the gaming world).

Gaming is gently enveloping the masses, I've been a gamer since programming on the ZX81, and avidly follow the games industry and the technology behind it - I'm not a geek honestly!

Gaming is lagging behind film and music simply due to the fact it is not inventive enough, nor is it maturing, though recent Nintendo offerings perhaps show that targetted games can get across all socio-boundaries.

I do think it is a real shame the BBC do not have high quality portal on the site, perhaps not having cheats, and previews of games to appear sometime never, but of the releases that actually taken place, together with buyer guides and so forth. I can't say the technology news page was perhaps providing the best games coverage and it is understandable that it was dropped.

If you need strength in depth, I am sure some nominated games players would love the opportunity to write weekly reviews (I would!).

I'm certain that it will happen, that games will intertwine on the BBC site with all other media, but perhaps with the 7th Generation of consoles it needs to be powered on sooner rather than later.

Nice to see the BBC using YouTube and Google, I've always been a touch disappointed that you can't access BBC America in the UK though!

As a gamer. I always read the reviews regarding forthcoming games from websites such as IGN, Eurogamer etc, these sites give readers the opportunity to read in depth reviews, see screenshots, watch trailers, download demo's, and even give interviews with the devolopers themselves. I base a lot of my purchases on what I read and see on these sites before actually going out and buying. In the past, I've noticed that most if not all of the reviews on BBC collective, and even the reviews which have now disappeared from the technology section of the BBC's main news site are only based around games that have already been released, and they are usually a week or so late which isnt really very helpful. I understand that a great deal of effort must go into sites such as IGN. But my point is until the BBC can put in the same amount of effort and employ a good handful of enthusiastic gaming reviewers to raise the calibur of the gaming section in collective people will always go and visit sites which already have teams big enough to publish the gaming news people like myself want to read.

How have u broken the 1,000 gamerscore line! im on 390 and i find it hard to get achievments. i guess your a better gamer than u.

im 19 i should be better than u. lol

nice to see BBC is interested in gaming

  • 12.
  • At 02:09 PM on 02 Mar 2007,
  • Aralio wrote:

I have to say I'm disappointed with the level of games coverage on the BBC, but while you can't compete with a dedicated site like Gamespot, I think the kind of coverage on the Guardian gamesblog http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/games/ is surely not beyond the beeb.

  • 13.
  • At 02:16 PM on 02 Mar 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

No dedicated TV show about games? What about VideoGaiden? http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/tv/videogaiden/

At the moment I think it's safe to say that BBC, and the media in general, doesn't "get" gaming.

Gaming isn't a fad, or a niche market anymore, it's as big as markets like music, films and books. Those markets are very large and to
write decent articles on these subjects requires either 1 person with an extensive knowledge about the subject, or a group of people with a broad range across all types of genres; much like music.

The problem the BBC faces is that it hasn't been willing to the put the resources into either model. That's why games sites like www.allaboutthegames.net are able to thrive; because the people there have been gaming not since Playstation, but since the 70's & 80's, and they have this is a hobby, not as a minor interst to pass the time.

To do a decent review section on gaming you need something that only time can buy; experience with games.

I agree with the poster who suggested dropping some repeats on BBC3 and having a weekly gaming programme.

It could not only have reviews, but also insights into new hardware, consoles and previews of upcoming games.

In fact, a general technology program would be nice. I know there's "click online", but it's very general and on at awkward times. If it were a gardening show, then it would spend 20 minutes talking about stuff, but never plant anything!

I agree with comment #10. I think whilst it would be great to have more gaming coverage, there are already established sites out there that people will head to first. The google of the gaming sites if you like. I attend and staff at the UK biggest LAN/gaming events, which have been covered before by the BBC before. However I think unless it gets a dedicated team to cover content and gaming events, it will be a 'lightly covered' subject. It's a lot of work and man power to compete with the gaming sites currently out there.

PS. For the Horde!

I agree with comment #10. I think whilst it would be great to have more gaming coverage, there are already established sites out there that people will head to first. The google of the gaming sites if you like. I attend and staff at the UK biggest LAN/gaming events, which have been covered before by the BBC before. However I think unless it gets a dedicated team to cover content and gaming events, it will be a 'lightly covered' subject. It's a lot of work and man power to compete with the gaming sites currently out there.

PS. For the Horde!

My suggestion to bolster the BBC's gaming coverage is to have a show like Film 2007. Have an Hour/Half hour show on BBC 2, presented by an avid gamer yet talented presenter. Also you could make it a formal yet amusing show that not only looks into latest releases but also the technology and work that goes into them.

I think a gaming show on BBC 2 will have lots of viewing potential.

It is good to see the BBC thinking about Gaming.

I don't know if gaming is 'Art' or 'Technology' ... it might be. But to me its more diverse than that and is perhaps a combination of those things. A reflection in many ways of real life and obvious fantasy. Should it be taken more seriously by the BBC?

This peice points out that there are many sites that do a better job (Gamespot). That's not really hard, you have to do something to assess whether someone is doing a better job.

The real point for BBC website users, obviously includiing the people who have read this article, is that we want to see a focus on games on THIS site!

In many ways the site is great, in fact i worry how easily i log on every day, but every now and then i look for game reviews and new etc because this is where i can get everything else. If i wanted just news then i would visit the best News Site (in fact i think the BBC's is one of the best). Likewise if i wanted just sport i could go to ESPN etc (again BBC Sport is enough for me on most days).

I think this is the point lost in the article, a recognition that the BBC is "missing a trick" in recognising that their users want this content on the site.

I'm sorry to see that BBC has dropped its game reviews. I spent several years working at the world's top development studio and can say we often passed the links around during the relatively frequent coverage of our titles on BBC. It wasn't that they were more insightful or more in-depth than reviews on dedicated sites such as those you mention. Rather, I found the combination of them being written from an "average gamer's perspective" in conjunction with BBC's journalistic standards to be what made them interesting. The observations and comments that no industry-hack journalist would make were always appreciated.

Since then I've moved from the software side of the gaming world to the hardware side, maybe I'll run into the BBC team at GDC next week.

If the BBC is to run a games show, please read this: http://www.gibbage.co.uk/2006/06/games-on-telly.html

I am a regular visitor to BBC news, mostly the technology, health and education (because of my work as a senior public sector consultant. But I am an avid gamer and am very aware of the big gap in the bbc online news coverage. I think that the bbc is missing a trick. Like me there are many professional visitors to the site that are gamers and would invariably click over to the gaming pages once business is done.
I know I would, rather than jump between tabs on Firefox
http://psplaytime.blogspot.com/

Gaming in the past was normally related to the young generation. But now in the modern world with the 'Web 2.0' and the internet/computer being far more popular for leisure use, many older people are playing video games.

The Nintendo Wii changed the look of gamers from dull boring characters, to fit and active ones. Gaming is increasing getting more popular and i think the BBC should realise this and dedicate a place in the website just for gaming.

I myself work reporting on gaming news in the industry pertaining at a dedicated website on one of the titles to be present at GDC '07 (Will Wright's Spore). I find it to be refreshing to see major news corporations such as the BBC covering an industry that rivals the movie industry and that is unique in the way that it interacts with the end consumer. I believe that this is an important move for professional journalism as such a large industry cannot be ignored forever.

Don't assume that only occasional coverage is nessicarily a bad thing. It shows when something in gaming has reached the mainstream.

As a Professor of Computer Games at an Australian University (yes really, that is my job) I watch the global trends in gaming quite carefully. In recent years there has been a shifting trend, most people ignore the amazing amount of casual gaming that goes on. Casual gaming includes mobile gaming, small flash games online, online gambling and of course the large amount of people who play solitare on their windows PCs. The demographics of this game playing audience is shifting away from the stereotypical young male adolescent.

The convergence of the mobile device into an all in one phone/computer/mp3player/remote/games console will continue in parallel with the development of multifunctional home entertainment centres. The introduction of innovative, haptic, interaction devices like the wii controller has had a massive impact on the way games are played and more importantly on the way computer gaming is perceived.

With the ever increasing turnover of the games industry, where major major console releases can generate more revenue than a Hollywood blockbuster movie - and trend data predicting the financial domination of the interactive media industry over other more traditional media in a few years - many traditional media outlets seems to have taken a very defensive position, ignoring the technology and publishing the odd game review in the the back of a colour suppliment or on a separate part of the website (presumably where only the geeks will read about it).

Modern editors and publishers (BBC online included) need to recognise the prevalence and importance of interactive digital media in all it's forms (including this online news forum) and stop treating the medium as some kind of poor cousin. I believe that the fact the article above was written at all validates this viewpoint.

You should consider getting more involved with games creation but not just from the Big Boys. Unfortunately the BBC always seems to focus on the big budget big PR companies.

Clickteam (at clickteam.com) have been making game making software for over 12 years (AMOS, STOS, Klik and Play, Games Factory) - from the humble amiga right through to the PC. Never got a mention on the bbc though there software is used in schools around the world. Just because they are not a big name seems they always get looked over by the BBC - shame.

Remember games and game making isnt just about the latest games from Lionhead or Microsoft (who always seem to get great press).

  • 28.
  • At 11:17 PM on 02 Mar 2007,
  • Ross Hendry wrote:

Surely you could have done your homework and found that yes, there is a BBC Scotland show dedicated to video games that's been running for two seasons now.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/videogaiden

Dear Darren,

It not only seems that the BBC is out of touch with video games but it's also out of touch with itself.

You are a prime example of this as you have ignored one of the BBCs most significant signings in recent years.

BBC Scotland have been aware of Robert Florence and Ryan Macleod for a fair few years now. Along with a cast of regulars they produce and distribute one of the best online video games shows ever made, namely Consolevania. BBC Scotland comissioned a slightly more sanitised version of this called videoGaiden. Which still has a web page up although BBC Scotland pulled the 'view again' footage.

Gaiden has recently finished it's second series which aired only in BBC Scotland (BBC 2 Scotland, actually) because nationally syndicated BBC channels passed it up.

The programme is reminicent of cult late 1990's video review show Vidz, which aired on Channel 4 and featuring Nige, who makes a couple of apreaneces in Gaiden.

So why would you claim there are no output when some of the best is being produced by BBC Scotland, unless you yourself were unaware of this and therefore woefully out of touch with current video games culture?

Even Charlie Brooker knows who Rab and Ryan are.

If BBC Four has to teach you about what the kids are into then I strongly suggest you find someone more suitable to fill the role of 'exponant of video games for the BBC'.

Please, please do some more research into these wonderfully well crafted programmes which are made with a genuine love of the subject matter before announcing to the world that the BBC doesn't have any output.

And for gods sake put Gaiden nationally like you haven't had the chance to do that for two years now.

Honestly.

I take it your English and never heard of the VideoGaiden show? Dedicated to games and on BBC2 after MOTD2 in Scotland. Its adult, funny and has some great reviews and since your the technology editor of the bbc, you should know about it before posting this article. Maybe you should check out their BBC website, or better still, actually watch the show.
I can't believe the guys behind it dont have more than a six episode series per year(before the xmas boom in games)with a slightly better budget when there is BBC3 and 4 as potential platforms. There are fans of it and Consolevania from the same creators.
If not Video Gaiden, then give us a show with the budget and flair of Top Gear or even the Gadget Show. A great show with spectacular camara work, great humour and interesting game related features. Give the subject the recognition of the popularity it actually has, like motor vehicles. Then non-gamers might actually watch it, give the show a chance and actually might be encouraged to watch or pick up a game pad and play. Don't give us a serious FILM 2007 clone, it just wont work. A show with a presenter/presenters with an actual passion and thirst for knowledge of gaming, like the VideoGaiden/ Consolevania guys is the only way forward.

  • 31.
  • At 12:07 AM on 03 Mar 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

"Nor is there a TV programme or radio show devoted to games."

Eh?

VideoGaiden ring a bell? 2 series of? Or is it just because it was Scotland only that it doesn't count?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/tv/videogaiden/

I would do a gaming show for the BBC. Sure as a Yank I lack the suave Accent, but as an American I'm much more in tune with my sofa, and have been aclimatized to violence that is so prevalent (and desirable) in games today.

I think that a dedicated games section would be a great idea and would sit nicely in the news Website and on BBCWorld and News 24.

Why not report it the same way as other forms of entertainment? I'm sure it would also be something to encourage younger people to take an interest in the news.

  • 34.
  • At 04:34 PM on 03 Mar 2007,
  • Nick Taylor wrote:

Getting the balance seems difficult as a games only show attracts a small audience. Mixing it up a little, with other contemporary "time sinks" like movies, gadgets and interesting stuff from the 'net could work better. Attack of the Show on G4 in the US seems to get it right. And of course, Xplay is on right after!

I always thought the BBC not having a show dedicated to games DID show that they knew something about gaming scene. I can't think of a single gaming show that wasn't rubbish.

Although.. If anyone could do a good job Charlie Brooker could. Screen Wipe but for gaming. It could work.

I'd also echo #6.

  • 36.
  • At 06:08 PM on 03 Mar 2007,
  • Adam Doby wrote:

As an American, I can tell you that the major channels here don't cover games at all. You have to go to Digital Cable and dish out $70/mo. or so until you find a channel that covers games... being G4TV, an entire channel for gamers. If the BBC is interested in pursuing video game shows and video game content online, you should look to G4 as an example (http://www.G4TV.com). Shows such as X-Play (entirely game previews/reviews) and Attack of the Show are probably most like what you are looking for. AOTS is a huge jumble of topics rolled into one show, covering everything from Games, to PC's, to Phones, to Sex, to Late Night TV. But to say the least, no network TV stations, and maybe one or two cable networks, cover even a hint of video games, and even still, only the biggest news and biggest events. Don't feel like you're behind the game when it comes to gaming coverage.

I play Guild Wars. I have two accounts. I'm retired so I have lots of time for gaming.

One of my accounts is based affiliated with an American Guild and the the other with an Australian Guild.

Don't watch much TV anymore.
Interactive gaming is better.

I stumbled on this thread by accident. I find myself wondering how many of the correspondents are over 16.

I have to confess that my only contact with gaming is deleting some of the excessively violent games my son got hold of. Luckily he has now grown out of them.

My strong impression from the games I saw is that much of the games industry is no more than branch of the pornography business, but far more very much more unpleasent than sex. There is something very sick about large companies promoting mindless and amoral extreme violence to make money. And something very sick about people who enjoy it.

I hope the BBC keeps well away from this stuff.

  • 39.
  • At 09:48 PM on 03 Mar 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

To everyone interested, please take a look at the information you can find about Serious Games at the following pages:

http://idt.memphis.edu/?q=node/113

and

http://dcharsky.blogspot.com/

Despite much of the violent or adult content in games, there is a lot to be learned from many of these. Although any games are commercially made for entertainment purposes only, there's a great demand to begin making eLearning into "Serious Games". By creating instruction that is an entertaining and engaging at is it educational, it's possible to learn broad concepts without having to spend too long dredging through the facts and trivia.

For example, I took Dr. Charsky's "Serious Games" course at Ithaca College and was able to work with a professor in the literature department to adapt Bethesda Games' "Call of Cthulhu: The Dark Corners of the Earth" to a course on Horror as a literary genre.

A more popular example of a serious game, while still violent in content, is Full Spectrum Warrior, developed by Pandemic Studios and the US Army. This game is actually used in the military as training for squad leaders on how to act in the field so they can have a greater understanding of what to do before put into active duty.

Please take a look at these articles.

  • 40.
  • At 09:52 PM on 03 Mar 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

To everyone interested, please take a look at the information you can find about Serious Games at the following pages:

http://idt.memphis.edu/?q=node/113

and

http://dcharsky.blogspot.com/

Despite much of the violent or adult content in games, there is a lot to be learned from many of these. Although any games are commercially made for entertainment purposes only, there's a great demand to begin making eLearning into "Serious Games". By creating instruction that is an entertaining and engaging at is it educational, it's possible to learn broad concepts without having to spend too long dredging through the facts and trivia.

For example, I took Dr. Charsky's "Serious Games" course at Ithaca College and was able to work with a professor in the literature department to adapt Bethesda Games' "Call of Cthulhu: The Dark Corners of the Earth" to a course on Horror as a literary genre.

A more popular example of a serious game, while still violent in content, is Full Spectrum Warrior, developed by Pandemic Studios and the US Army. This game is actually used in the military as training for squad leaders on how to act in the field so they can have a greater understanding of what to do before put into active duty.

Please take a look at these articles.

One of the sessions at the GDC is 'Know Your Players: An In-Depth Look at Player Behavior and Consumer Demographics' sounds very interesting.

Date/Time: Monday (March 5, 2007) 10:00am — 6:00pm
Location (room): Room 3004, West Hall

This session will discuss gamer characteristics and what makes people buy and play games. Individual difference variables have been an integral part of technology research.

You could attend this tutorial session and write about that.

  • 42.
  • At 01:09 AM on 04 Mar 2007,
  • Austin Kendo wrote:

It's a joke there is no Gaming/Tech coverage on the BBC bar the "Click" pro gramme which is on BBC News 24, I am surprised that the BBC have missed the boat on this one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Screen_Savers

The Screensavers when hosted by Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton it would have been great for a similar show over here, Virtually everyone has a PC in there house or has to use one at work.

Hopefully one of the networks will start broadcasting a Internet/Tech show between 6-11pm

  • 43.
  • At 04:16 AM on 04 Mar 2007,
  • Paul Barnett wrote:

The computer games world fails to light up the television screen because as a television product it is very dull. The usual takes are young people making too much noise, boring people talking about new technology or tired people trying to prove that computer games are art.

The internet, current magazines and retailers serve almost all the needs of the computer game player. What possible use would a program be other than to show footage of a game? Now if you’re suggesting filming a documentary of how a game is made then that’s a different story.

Try the video diaries out..

http://www.warhammeronline.com/english/behindTheScenes/vidPhoneDiaries/2007february.php

Or this one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWvAznIRVLA

And yes I realise it’s a blatant plug.

Hmmmm... I have to say that I'm glad that there won't be a dedicated channel towards video gaming. It seems like doing that would just do to games what MTV did to music, essentially. As a fan of games, it's nice to see that you aren't going to just take a half-baked stab at the idea and just glitz it up and make it about stuff real gamers aren't interested in. Just the commitment to make sure it is intelligently covered, I think, will grow into a more professional and successful means of coverage.

As the owner of World of Warcraft's talk-radio station, I've certainly been disappointed with not only games coverage, but intellectual discussion as regards to the effect that gaming in general is having on society. The MMORPG revolution? All we get are sales figures and 'Blizzard brought a pretty race to World of Warcraft!'. Come on BBC, it's a social revolution going on worldwide and we hear next to nothing about it. If you need some experts on the subject, just give us, the gamers, a call. Some of us base our lives around it, and why not after all? It's a huge emerging market.

  • 46.
  • At 01:44 PM on 04 Mar 2007,
  • Michelle Readman wrote:

The Gibbage blog entry on games on TV actually has it spot on - what gamers would watch or read isn't simple reviews or contests, but more 'artsy' content that explores the meaning of games.

It still is quite strange to think that it is the 18 to 35 year old that is considered 'hardcore gamers' now, yet it actually makes perfect sense. These people have jobs and families, and might even be quite partial to Radio 4 (quite a few gamers are obsessed with ISIHAC, in my experience!).

Games are no longer entertainment for the purely young. They are beginning to actually be able to shape the world, and their interactive nature can make them more moving than any film. Gamers are forming a distinct subset of geek culture, and even launching their own charities. And very much gamer culture hubs even cover the development of games or the surrounding wider issues that relate to gaming.

I'm not entirely sure, however, I would want a show. I don't actually have a television, and the same is true of many gamers. Television means time away from WoW, whereas podcasts can be played in the background, and blogs checked whilst posting on the forums.

Personally, I would love to see game-loving BBC staff put together their own videos for the BBC youtube deal, as I like having something to watch on occasion. However the best place for the BBC to start would be a simple blog. Not simply reviewing games, but exploring gamer culture, the deeper meanings of games, the state of the industry and the future art of game design.

Finally, I'm very happy to hear that I'll be able to get high-quality coverage from the GDC! Obviously the keynote speeches are a must, what with speculation over what Sony may use their session to announce. Friday at 1030 is "Sharing Control", on user generated content in games. With web2.0 and Second Life being all about user generated content, this talk might hold some interesting speculation on the big future of multiplayer games. Monday at 1000 is ""Know Your Players: An In-Depth Look at Player Behavior and Consumer Demographics", which has to be without a doubt a must-attend session for any journalist interested on covering gamer culture. And finally, "Nuances of Design: An Experiment in Visceral Communication" at 1430 on Tuesday looks to be a unique session, with attendees actually getting to play some experimental concepts.

I've been fairly impressed by BBC's coverage of Gaming, which appears quick to catch up on trends. Of the mainstream news sources, its probably only the Guardian that shows similar responsiveness. (Much of the rest of the press still has residues of the 'Games are evil' attitude.)

  • 48.
  • At 06:34 PM on 04 Mar 2007,
  • Tim Stacey wrote:

The BBC needs to increase it's coverage however reviewing games really isn't the answer. It needs to take games as seriously as it would other mediums and so not just talk about singular games but issues within the industry as a whole. On the BBC website there could be a blog or just regular articles in the technology section looking at gaming from another perspective. As far as the wider BBC there should be documentaries about games and how they effect people's lives. It's painfully obvious from things like reply 38 that most people have little to no knowledge of gaming. Channel 4 had a couple of game based 3 minutes wonders which were very effective (http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/S/second_lives/index.html).

Attending the GDC is a good place to start and follow up articles exploring the themes from the sessions you attend would be great.

I get the impression from broadcasters that they considered the heyday of gaming to be in the early 90s. Programmes like Bad Influence, Games Master and, later, Bits and Thumb Bandits are as close as we've come to seeing gaming recognised in the mainstream.

It's almost as if producers have said: "right, well that didn't work, let's do something else". Of course, this view is unfortunate as gaming is ever-changing and the ways in which it can be broadcast - and the options therefore open to said producers - constantly increase.

I hope that one day we see a renaissance in gaming among mainstream broadcasters. I feel the BBC has always underestimated its potential a touch.

Number 38. You are the kind of person that needs to open your eyes to a form of media that is already the biggest in the world. Yes bigger than Hollywood!

I am a gamer in my early thirties, and yes I play violent games sometimes, just as I may watch a film that is violent sometimes. But to tar everything with the same brush is idiotic.

And to all those closet gamers ... read this http://tf.erzz.com/2006/04/05/sad-geeks-who-play-games-all-day/

The last attempt at video games content I saw on the Beeb was Newsnight Review's review of the Wii - that was painful to watch. If there's going to any attempt about a discussion show on games, please make sure there's someone on it who won't launch off into the usual "violent boring pointless time wasting addictive" spiel we've come to expect from the media.

Why not have something like a gaming equivalent of Top Gear? Something with discussion from people who genuinely enjoy what they're talking about, with people who actually work well together rather than Shouty Dude and Gamer Babe attempting to talk down to us "gamers". Top Gear appeals to people who aren't especially interested in cars, so why can't we have a gaming show that appeals to people beyond gamers?

Whilst I would love to see a weekly gaming show on the BBC (BBC3 maybe) I realise that it might got get enough mainstream interest to justify a slot in the schedule. As an alternative, I suggest that you perhaps piggy-back with a 2-3 minute segment in Spencer Kelley's Click program or maybe even produce your own weekly podcast (perhaps a video podcast).

Also, I have seen articles on the BBC News site about gaming that are clearly not written by gamers, or perhaps have been edited by a non-gaming editor. Could you help other writers/presenters across the BBC by helping them understand the hobby, or just proof-reading their articles?

When you say that your a "passionate gamer". I feel that a lot of people when they say this mean they are a console gamer. Im unsure of what platform you play on tho, as far as I can tell you play on your 360 a lot.

Im worried that making a program on the BBC it would fall like the rest. MainStream gaming falls down to the console. You will find the trully passionate gamers are the PC gamers. In germany they have an entire channel dedicated to gaming of all genre. I would love a well rounded program in the UK, that also covers competitions and backs the competitive side. E.g. The UK Counter-Strike Source team.

Surely a good quality multi format programme would be able to cope with pc as well as console games as they have very different flavours but make up the whole of an interesting pass time.

I assume they do anyway, from what I've seen the 360 is a PC that Robert Webb owners like myself might buy in order to play PC games.

And why do people keep saying the BBC does not produce games programming? Canst peoples not do research?

@Darren: "I'll be reporting on all the key sessions, establishing contacts and hopefully producing some quality material."
That sounds very good. Keep us informed, and don't forget "indie games".

@Gavin: "When you say that your a "passionate gamer". I feel that a lot of people when they say this mean they are a console gamer. Im unsure of what platform you play on tho, as far as I can tell you play on your 360 a lot."
I believe there might be passionate gamers in the console side as well ;) Besides, more and more games are published in multiple platforms (if it's for Xbox, it might also be for PC and other way around)

Personally I find the BBC's games coverage to be pretty pitiful.

I'm sure BBC3 and BBC4 have more than enough free airtime to cope with a regular game programme.

  • 57.
  • At 06:34 AM on 07 Mar 2007,
  • daydbai wrote:

I'm all for the BBC taking gaming reporting more seriously. But that means breaking out of the casual stereotypes that expose reporters writing about what they don't really know that much about.

For example: How many more times must we see the same (or one of the various) screen shots from "Gears of War" it is clearly not the only game out there, not even in its own genre... and we already know about it.

Also: GET OFF SONY! Almost every posting on the BBC website since last year has highlighted, talked about, and praised the PS3. Maybe this was justifiable (though not really) before the launches. However, now that the PS3s are sitting on shelves, people are paying more that double for a Wii on ebay, and the xbox is universal (though they do have more games than "gears of war".... it is really time to move beyond Sony and their products.

I agree wholeheartedly with two different opinions that have been expressed here:
1. That games reporting is about much more than games reviews... follow the cultural trends. The phenomena of the Wii and also of online RPGs are great examples.
2. Gaming goes WAY beyond console, or even PC for all you die hards who keep posting here to make sure that you aren't overrun! Online flash games and what we all think of as "i have 5 minutes with nothing to do on my mobile games" are worth checking out

  • 58.
  • At 10:20 AM on 07 Mar 2007,
  • Kinichie wrote:

What is required is a "Top Gear" style approach to the Gaming Industry. Taking opinions due to personal touch because that's what we humans do, then forgetting them while testing a product and reporting on the good things of a game/console/idea and all the negative. And you remove a regular gaming review per week. Why? As I post this, this blog is the most talked for today, doesn't that say something? Doesn't that mean there is a large voice wanting something done?

Also: GET OFF SONY! Almost every posting on the BBC website since last year has highlighted, talked about, and praised the PS3. Maybe this was justifiable (though not really) before the launches. However, now that the PS3s are sitting on shelves

@57: Whoops! Forgetting other countries exist, are we?

  • 60.
  • At 01:35 PM on 26 Mar 2007,
  • Akyan wrote:

I have been desperate for some quality games coverage, or even for that matter technology coverage.

I would love to see something similar to this on the BBC:

http://www.1up.com/do/minisite?cId=3145462

  • 61.
  • At 01:46 PM on 20 May 2007,
  • WiiManDan wrote:

Good god, have you seen BBC Newsnight's review of the Nintendo Wii?

What a bunch of old boring biddies!

If you're going to do reviews of games, especially for the Wii, get a small child's perspective, a teenager's perspective, an Adults perspective, and an elderly person's perspective.

Either that or just don't bother!
The only people who're going to buy Games are gamers and people who are curious.

WiiManDan,

I think rather than just arbitrarily getting people of different ages, why not get people who aren't pretending to be in some intellectual elite to review it instead?

One of the shytehawks who reviewed the Wii said that someone would get more value out of a good book, or something. Ha said it as if the choice was to play with the Wii or read a book, and he is assuming that people who play video games don't read book, or go to the cinema, or watch plays, or do anything.

Basically, that Newsnight segment displayed some terrible ignorance and cowardice from some people who should be more open minded.

Does anyone fancy some good news?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/videogaiden/

YEAY!

But put it on BBC 3, for heavens sake.

Post a comment

Please note Name and E-mail are required.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

Required
Required (not displayed)
 
    

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites