On Monday 6 April 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced their partnership with the video games industry to promote essential health messaging on COVID-19 into more UK homes.
The partnership will see ‘Stay at Home, Save Lives’ messaging appear in some of the world’s most popular games, including games produced by Codemasters and Rebellion. Rebellion, for example, will be including the ‘Stay at Home’ messaging on their games landing page launch sites, with the capacity for these messages to link to government information pages where appropriate.
The video games industry has seen a surge in users since the coronavirus lockdown. Analysis of market data shows a 44% increase in sales during the week running Monday 16 March to Sunday 22, compared to the week prior. The huge increase in video-game playing will ensure that targeted messaging will be effective in reaching more UK households, and therefore promoting the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ message.
The UK video games sector is important economically and culturally. Games development contributed over £1.8 billion towards GDP in the year to November 2018, and the industry supports nearly 15,000 employees. The video games sector is a big sector in the UK economy, and can therefore play an effective part in the battle against coronavirus.
TIGA welcomes this initiative, and encourages its members and other video-games businesses to get involved with this project. TIGA data shows that as of November 2018, there were 812 games development studios in the UK.
Any business wishing to support the fight against coronavirus through in-game messaging and other initiatives should contact DCMS on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:
“Getting through this crisis requires a collective national effort, and it is great that the video games industry can play their part in promoting key health messages and encouraging users to stay at home to save lives through this initiative.
“Promoting key health messages through video games is an innovative and dynamic way to promote key information and health warnings to more UK households. This will be particularly effective amongst the young, who will be feeling the effects of isolation and social distancing having finished school early. Young people spend more time playing video games, which is why targeted messaging in video games will be effective in reinforcing the Government’s message.”
“I encourage TIGA members and video games businesses to get involved with this endeavour, to join the fight against coronavirus and to promote these key messages for their users’ safety.”