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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blair praises games industry for making "significant strides"

Vaz raises issue of Bully in Prime Minister's Question Time

Tony Blair has praised the games industry for making "significant strides" when it comes to games with violent content after being questioned over the latest Rockstar title to hit the headlines.

During Prime Minister's Question Time this afternoon, Labour MP Keith Vaz claimed that Canis Canem Edit - which was formerly titled Bully - contains "scenes of violence, including players terrorising teachers and students, teachers being headbutted, and the aggressive use of baseball bats".

After noting that high street retailer Currys has refused to stock the game, Vaz questioned: "Given the link between videogames and their propensity to encourage violence that has been demonstrated in some research, will the Prime Minister convene a meeting of the stakeholders, including the industry and parents' groups, to discuss this issue?"

He added: "And will he accept this is not about adult censorship, this is about protecting children?"

The Prime Minister opened his reply by praising Vaz for "his work in raising awareness of this issue", before admitting, "I haven't seen the game myself."

"But I know that the minister for creative industries and also the minister responsible for the industry are very happy to meet with him and stakeholders to discuss it," he continued.

"It's obviously an important issue. I know there's a lot of concern about it."

Concluding his answer, Blair stated, "It is, I think, right to say that the videogames industry, or certainly a very substantial section of it, have made significant strides and advances over the past few years.

"But he's quite right, it's important that's maintained."

The game went on sale in the US yesterday, where it still carries the name Bully, and will launch in the UK on October 27.

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