Videogames have cultural cachet

UK videogames industry body Tiga has called for the products to be treated like other creative industries such as television or film, rather than mere “software”.

There is a good argument for this. Games have been part of human civilisation for thousands of years. Egyptians played the board game senet 3 000 years ago, around the same time that Persians played the Royal Game of Ur with dice. Around 700AD, the ancient Indian game of chatarunga developed into the modern game of chess, and India is also the origin of snakes and ladders and ludo.

These games, as much as more recent creations such as Monopoly and Scrabble, have cultural cachet, a place in our society and history. Videogames have fans all over the world — for example, when two Indian brothers launched Scrabulous, a Web-based Scrabble clone for Facebook, they had 600 000 daily players until Scrabble’s owners shut them down. Videogames of more contemporary tastes, for example online 3D shooters such as Call of Duty, have more than 100m players.

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