• November 29, 2021

ITN Productions: “We set out on a mission to dispel myths about the industry”

It’s not often that a major news station turns its attention to the video game industry, and most of the time it does, it’s not necessarily in a good light.

ITN Productions’ industry news team aimed to change that with Games For Good, a news format program co-produced with the International Association of Game Developers to explore the positive impact video games can have on the lives of women. persons.

The half-hour documentary was released today on Devcom’s main stage broadcast, and also available to view through the IGDA website.

Nina Harrison-Bell, ITN Productions

We spoke to ITN Productions Industry News Director Nina Harrison-Bell and Programming Director Ben Kingshott earlier this year about the project and its goals, with the former telling us that the team’s interest in the games was piqued by their prominence. during the pandemic.

“Games in the last 12 months, certainly with the pandemic, have seen exponential growth,” he says. “It has always been a relevant sector, but it has played a very important role in people’s lives during the pandemic.”

Harrison-Bell adds that he has also developed a better understanding of video games over the past year through his son: “I have seen firsthand the impact on him and how it has allowed him to stay connected with his friends over the past 12 months. When he was ten years old, he was not on social media, he was not talking to his friends through WhatsApp chats, he was talking to his friends while playing Minecraft, Fortnite or Rocket League. I have been quite relaxed and I think many other parents they have done it, because that is a route for social activity. “

Rocket League in particular has shown the positive role games can play; Harrison-Bell’s son is “crazy about football” and before the pandemic he spent much of his weekend having fun in the park with his friends. With lockdown restrictions preventing it, the car soccer antics from Psyonix’s hit game have been a welcome addition and made it easier for her mother to focus on her time online.

“The talks have shown that there is heart in the soul of the industry”

Ben Kingshott, ITN Productions

“I had to educate myself during the pandemic that, you know what Nina, it’s okay if she’s online for two hours with her peers, that’s her only contact with her friends outside of the school setting,” she says. “I had to educate myself on how I feel as a parent in terms of being comfortable with it.

“I also realized through this project that the industry has a mission to provide games in a good way. I think the virtual reality aspect, with everyone trapped in their homes, is that world of escape, the world of entrepreneurship. an adventure – when you can’t just go camping for a weekend or whatever. Those opportunities have been very limited and the games have provided that alternate world experience. “

Adds Kingshott: “What I have noticed through these conversations is … how charitable these great organizations are. There are so many companies that do amazing things and spend so much of their budget on charitable causes.

“We set out on a mission to dispel myths about the industry, about games, and the conversations have shown that there is a heart in the soul of the industry. There are some really good stories.”

Games For Good is primarily an industry-oriented production. The goal is to represent developers and related technology companies and explore how they work together, sharing best practices and technical knowledge. The hope is that it will also reach investors and consumers interested in learning more about the industry.

Within the half-hour runtime, the show addresses the positive and social impact of video games on people’s lives, the validity of the industry as a career path, and work to improve diversity and inclusion.

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Ben Kingshott, ITN Productions

“Although there is still a way to go [on D&I]It is one of those industries where there are many success stories in that area, perhaps more so than in the older sectors, “says Kingshott.” That is definitely an area we wanted to explore. “

Harrison-Bell says the news-style format helps convey all of these themes by “bringing them to life with tangible results. [and] case studies “, adding:” Any industry can say ‘we collaborate, we think ahead, we are innovative’, but really those are just words unless you see it in action. Demonstrating tangible case studies of how this works is the way that has a lot more impact than just saying those things. “

Working with IGDA, ITN Productions was able to bring in a variety of development studios, including the creator of Ubisoft-owned Hungry Shark, Future Games of London, Top Eleven Nordues studio, and MMO publisher NCsoft.

While some spots on the show were paid for with sponsorship, Harrison-Bell wishes to affirm the integrity of the final production: “The content we are creating must be editorially credible. We are not doing commercials or infomercials.”

She adds: “We try to tell the stories that don’t appear in the mainstream news. We want to provide a platform for organizations that don’t necessarily have the ability to reach the audience they want to reach through the channels you would expect.” – Public relations, advertising, etc. We are trying to raise their profile by leveraging the ITN brand, and we are creating content that may not have been seen elsewhere. “

Previous broadcasters’ documentaries have often explored concerns about game addiction or the impact of violent games. The BBC even once dramatized the controversy surrounding Grand Theft Auto, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Bill Paxton, a production that was criticized by Rockstar and DMA staff and sparked a lawsuit.

Kingshott was eager for this to be something different, adding: “Ultimately, the title of the show is ‘Games For Good.’ We wanted to see positive stories where games or the industry have created positive aspects in women’s lives. persons “.

With the program now live, ITN Productions and IGDA will now embark on a marketing campaign to show it to as many eyes as possible. While there are currently no plans for a follow-up, or news of similar shows from other broadcasters, Kingshott describes the production as “hopefully a sign of things to come.”

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