MP says BBC should get into gaming

Labour MP Tom Watson has suggested that the BBC should have given British videogame companies more support rather than spending piles of cash on web sites.

Speaking on an online video show hosted by gamesindustry.biz, the politician said, "The BBC has spent a billion pounds on their websites since 1994 – they could have breathed life into a lot of small gaming companies if they'd got contracts right and been generous with their licensing.

"I'm not blaming the BBC because all of this is new, it's fast-moving, but I would like to see a point where they can use their muscle to help the small guys in the industry to help them get on with making great games and applications."

BBC exec Marc Goodchild pointed out that video games are the number one reason viewers use the Internet, and that games are central to the BBC's interactive services. "Games [are] absolutely a core part of what we do. We do audience research about what children go online for and games [are] regularly top of the list and social normally comes second," he said. "So we couldn't operate in the interactive space without doing games, it's part of our remit.

"As a pubic service organisation we have a responsibility to make sure we're helping to support the creative industries in the UK to make sure the UK stays top."

The BBC is currently trying to make the most of popular shows like Dr Who but it would be generous to suggest that the corporation's track record when it comes to mainstream gaming was anything better than poor.