The common ground between TV and Gaming

I’ve just had an interesting email conversation with Nicholas Lovell, the excellent games consultant and Gamesbrief blogger, prompted by his appearance at the Edinburgh TV Festival on a panel about the cross over between TV and Games. The session left me very frustrated, partly because it seemed to assume that the only reason that TV people would be interested in games is if they wanted to license their IP to produce a spin-off game. Nicholas (and Paulina Bozek, who made SingStar) did give a different perspective, but this came after two long sessions that were pretty dull histories of Sony and Ninetendo’s histories in the AAA game industry.

Having spent nearly a decade working for broadcasters, I know that this isn’t the way to get a bunch of creative people excited about your sector. How much more interesting it could have been if there were more creative talent there – Ben from Zombie Cow, Darren from Littleloud, or Phil from Preloaded – to explain how their creative process works. Making a TV programme and making a game share a lot of common skills, from great writing to stunning visual production and a keen understanding of your audience. The session at the TV Festival would have been a lot more valuable for everyone involved if it had focused on these issues, rather than a history of the games industry.

I was particularly frustrated, as I’ve spent the last few years (together with Alice Taylor) trying to get broadcasters to understand that games are valuable ways of delivering public value projects, not just parasitical, licensed projects feeding off a linear TV programme’s  brand equity. The common ground between TV and Gaming isn’t licenses and IP – it is talent, stories and audiences. Its a pity that the panel in Edinburgh didn’t illustrate this.


  1. Mike Bennett

    I spoke there last year, and talked about this intersection and the system of story telling that twists as you move between games, and linear TV. I had some nice comments but mainly got a slightly bemused response from most of the audience there. I don’t think the traditional games companies are much interested in what they see as minority interest content, similarly other than your good self there isn’t much appetite for non-TV supporting interactive content. The panel you suggest might have been interesting for most of us but I’m guessing would have fallen on willfully deaf ears in Edinburgh

  2. Joanne Jacobs

    Exceedingly frustrating. Games are so much more immersive, and experience can teach so much more than a television programme or a film. It’s a shame that the sector doesn’t hear more from you and Alice and others in this space so that investment in creative ventures that have clear education and training benefits get more profile.

  3. Toby Barnes

    so totally agree. and this has been the case for 10 years now. I did a session at mgeitf in 2000 when I was at MTV talking about games and TV. And then all I was asked about was cost, licenses and business models. Important yes, but missing a point. The weird thing is that both industries seem to be bumping the wrong people together. Add advertising into the mix, and things get worse. (except for a few exceptions) there are 2 more giants that just don’t seem to have listened to the write stories.

Leave a Reply to Joanne Jacobs Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s