John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry has recognised the importance of the video games industry to British industries. Just a shame that he also showed how out of date his view of the people who work in it also is.
As quoted in The Independent today, he says:
“One of the biggest growth industries in Britain today is the computer games industry. 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.”
What he says is true, we do need people with artistic flair in the industry. To call game developers spotty nerds though is a stereotypical view that may seem quite insulting to some. In fact Rebellion had a response to him on the subject:
“I’ve got nothing against anybody who is in fact spotty or a nerd, and whilst I appreciate that sometimes one needs to ‘exaggerate for effect,’ your statement is something that has never been true about the massively valuable games industry even in its nascent days, and is still even less true now.”
It is fair to say that Cridland should have researched the industry a little more before making his comment.
Cridland’s comments are based on the worry that “STEM” subjects (science, technology, engineering, and maths) miss one important feature, the arts. His argument is that it should be “STEAM” instead.
The shame is that by belittling people based on stereotypes he has damaged his message somewhat. The games industry has thrived, especially in the UK by creative people who have not only coded the games but have also worked on the art side of development. Even outside the world of video game development, the arts should be protected in education anyway.
Should John Cridland apologise for his comment about game developers? Has he damaged the message he was trying to put across? Let us know your thoughts below.