May 27, 2022

UK Government and Developers Adding “Stay Home” Messages to Games

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) has partnered with Activision/Blizzard/King, Rebellion, and Codemasters to help spread the “Stay Home” message in games like Candy Crush Saga, Sniper Elite, and DiRT.

The UK and several British video game developers have teamed up to spread the “Stay Home, Save Lives” message.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) has partnered with some of the UK’s leading games companies. Their aim is simply to spread the message.

As the announcement states:

“Getting through the crisis will require a collective national effort and every generation has a role to play. Everyone’s actions right now can have a direct impact on the lives of others. Young people spend more time playing video games than the rest of the population (UKIE). This is why in-game messaging represents a creative, targeted, and immediate way to help reinforce the government’s “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” message, to gamers”.

Adding to this statement, Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary, said:

“It is absolutely vital that we all follow the simple government advice [to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives]. I’m delighted to see the UK’s brilliant video games industry stepping up to strongly reinforce this message to gamers [across the UK]”.

The UK video game demographic reportedly consists of some 32.4 million UK residents. This is almost 50% of the total population of the UK (66.65 million as of 11th April 2020). So, the impact that even a quarter of those seeing the message in-game could have untold effects.

Currently, the DCMS has partnered with Activision Blizzard King, Codemasters, and Rebellion.

Activision/Blizzard/King

has started inserting the “Stay Home” message in their string of mobile games, including Candy Crush Saga. The company has also donated more than 230 “digital poster” advertising spaces in London. Normally, King would use these spaces to advertise it’s own products.

President of King, Humam Sakhnini, said:

“Everyone at Activision Blizzard, [and the King team I lead] are delighted that we’re able to play a small part and help with the delivery of vital public health information. Through our millions of players, we’re able to assist Public Health England and the NHS spread their life-saving message”.

Codemasters

has started featuring the “Stay Home” posters in DiRT Rally 2.0. They are also looking at ways to spread essential health-warning messages in their games across Europe and the US.

Toby Evan-Jones, VP Business Development at Codemasters:

“[At Codemasters,] we came to realise that technology within our games, which enables the remote updating of banners within the virtual environment, could be repurposed to assist with the Coronavirus communication effort. This week, through collaboration with Bidstack Group PLC, we began delivering a version of Public Health England’s ‘Stay Home Save Lives’ message into DiRT Rally 2.0. It’s fantastic to see conversations already being sparked amongst our community”.

Rebellion

will feature “Stay Home” messages on their games in the landing page launch sites. Players will see this message anytime they load up a game. The advantage to this is that players can if they so wish, follow an embedded link to relevant gov.uk pages. Also, Rebellion has a comic book publication arm, which they have offered advertisement space to further spread the message.

Jason Kingsley OBE, Co-founder and CEO of Rebellion:

“We’re delighted to be working with the DCMS on this excellent initiative. We know how fundamentally beneficial video games, [like Sniper Elite and Strange Brigade,] and comics, [like 2000 AD,] have been and will continue to be for many of us during this extraordinary time. It makes total sense for us to help promote important public health messaging while keeping those fans entertained in the safety of their homes”.

The DCMS concludes their announcement by stating how there are 2,277 video game companies active in the UK. If any company wishes to help support the fight against Coronavirus through similar in-game messages or other initiatives, they should contact the DCMS at enquiries@culture.gov.uk.

Here’s hoping that many of the UK’s (and in fact, the world’s) video game players take heed of the messages Governments and health care professionals are telling them. It is a truly difficult and bizarre time we all find ourselves in. But, know we will pill through this, together. And, in the meantime, play some ruddy good video games!


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