The Confederation Of British Industry’s director general, John Cridland, has told UK newspaper The Independent that “Nobody is going to play a game by a spotty nerd”.
The government’s current education scheme is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) but John Cridland wants the government to modify it to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths). This is where gaming came up in the interview.
“One of the biggest growth industries in Britain today is the computer games industry,” Cridland told the newspaper. “We need extra coders – dozens and dozens of them but nobody is going to play a game designed by a spotty nerd. We need people with artistic flair.”
The statement is something of a double edged sword. While it’s great that the Arts are finally being pushed for Education – which I certainly would have benefited from at school – his statement that “Nobody is going to play a game by a spotty nerd” is kind of infuriating, and betrays his lack of familiarity with the past time. Video games aren’t just made by people who fir the stereotypical view of a gamer. They’re made by women, by disabled people, by people of all sizes, shapes and colors. And many of those people are artists, actors, and musicians.
Simply put, the Arts already have a strong place in the Games industry, with artists and coders working alongside each other to produce the games we all know and love. That Cridland doesn’t seem to acknowledge that fact is rather telling. Perhaps next time he should make an effort to learn more about an industry before he presumes to know the kind of people who work in it.
Still, it’s good to see that business chiefs are at least starting to realize how the UK games industry benefits the wider economy. Now they just need to start doing more to support it.