MP Multiplayer: Gamer’s Voice Launches

By Kieron Gillen on November 10th, 2009 at 10:02 am.

God, the JPG compression has hurt this.
This was an interesting one, in terms of emerging political gamer consciousness – which is a phrase I never thought I’d find myself writing. Prompted by rent-a-outrage MP Keith Vaz – in the words of Mr Wharton who prodded me towards this – “being Keith Vaz” about Modern Warfare 2, relatively-technophile Labour MP Tom Watson founded a facebook group to be unashamedly pro-gamer. As the description says: “Are you sick of UK newspapers and (my fellow) politicians beating up on gaming? So am I. The truth is, UK gamers need their own pressure group. I want to help you start one up.” It’s just passed six-thousand members. You have to hope an organised central body like this could do a lot of good in terms of combating scaremongering. I’ve just joined. Perhaps you should too.

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53 Comments »

  1. Seniath says:

    The full commons "debate" (if you could call it that. More an exchange of two pre-written statements really) is viewable here.

    • bill says:

      heh. not much of a debate, but that second guy (Tom Watson?) really went for keith vaz. “collaborating with the daily mail to induce moral panic”. heh.

      Gotta say it’s about time too…

  2. DMcCool says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t be anything but cynical on this one. I guess its nice that gamers are finally seen as a group worth pandering to but isn’t this just MPs…being MPs?

    That said I probably would sign up if it wasn’t on facebook. There are few things I find as abhorrent as that …website.

  3. Davydd Grimm says:

    Anarcho-syndicalist, eh? Bloody students/

  4. Lack_26 says:

    Has anyone noticed that the picture in the BBC article captioned "Modern Warfare prepares to strike" is not in fact MW or MW2, but looks like CoD1 or 2.

    Also, it's good to see an MP sticking up for us, of course, the Daily Mail will call for his immediate resignation.

    • Corvus says:

      Did anyone also notice this little gem from the BBC article:

      “The series started life back in 2003, using the Quake game engine”

      Words escape me.

    • neems says:

      To be fair, nobody at the BBC is likely to be bothered about the differences between the Quake engine and Quake 3 engine. It’s still Quake to the uninitiated.

    • Optimaximal says:

      You do understand that Quake 3 shares a good deal of the same codebase as Quake & Quake 2, right?

      Just as someone saying Borderlands can trace its technical heritage back too Unreal, there is nothing wrong with the statement.

  5. phuzz says:

    I’m still waiting for this whole facebook thing to pass. Then I shall feel smug.
    I’d probably be happier about a pro-gaming group, if it wasn’t started by an MP…

    • The Hammer says:

      I think you’re being unfair here. I mean, you’re dismissing it because it’s been made by an MP? It’s a good, and unusual thing to happen, but because an MP is aligned with it, it’s not worth being happy about? Where then, is the chance for MPs to redeem themselves?

  6. DMJ says:

    Would the honourable gentleman kindly elaborate on the Government’s position on the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Horde and Alliance in Azeroth?

    • G. Brown says:

      I personally find the threat of the scourge and the Lich King more of an issue currently.

      The petty squabbles between King Varian and Garrosh are on the agenda but have taken a back burner while we tear down the walls of Icecrown

    • ThePinkNinja says:

      We’ve sent an official letter of objection to Garosh Hellscream…

  7. phil says:

    The fact an MP has actually stepped up and done this is heartening, I could never imagine a national politican doing this during the Night-trap/Carmaggedon/Mortal Combat era (the best they could come up with was sniffy tolerance.)

    Like other less principled politicans Keith Vaz likes bandwagons and easy targets, hopefully initiatives of this nature will make gaming less easy to demonise, then they can get back to hopelessly trying to ban binge drinking.

  8. Richard says:

    Thanks for the shout out! We’re on twitter too at http://twitter.com/gamersvoice

    http://gamersvoice.org.uk is also up, for now redirecting to FB til we get things sorted.

  9. AbyssUK says:

    MP realises that 26 million people in the UK game, quickly realises that 26 million votes is actually quite a big deal. A big election next year you say… hmmmm

    • Gap Gen says:

      It seems like the guy is generally fairly tech-savvy, so I don’t believe that this is pure politicking – but like you say, it’s politics, and he’s unlikely to do anything to harm his chances of reelection. Plus, it’s not all good – he was implicated in the expenses scandal, like a lot of other MPs.

    • bill says:

      @gap gen: well, i don’t think you’ll find any MP who wasn’t “implicated”.

      Of course, that whole thing in itself was tabloid driven rubbish. People used their expenses accounts to the max of the rules? They tried to include as many borderline things as possible? Oh no! Shock. You mean just like every businessman in the world does when they claim expenses? The horror.
      Tightening up the rules seems a good thing, but i can’t say i hold it against any of the MPs that they were “involved”. I just thought the whole thing was a hypocritical distraction.

      But he did seem to know what he was talking about, if that was him talking in the bbc video.

    • Arathain says:

      No-one, and particularly not politicians, ever does anything for just one reason. If he wants to see gamers get better representation and pick up some votes in the bargain there’s nothing wrong with that.

  10. XM says:

    I’ll sign up. This weeks biggest shock an MP that’s pro-gaming. :o

    Next thing IW will give MW2 dedicated servers and bigger 32 player maps……. No there is no chance of that. :)

    BTW what is RPSs view on the MW2 MP chaos? Us PC crowd are split in half now. Some like the easy gaming others hate it.

    IWnet was made to make connecting to a game more simple than dedicated servers but there is one little problem for some. The good old port forwarding, how is that more simple for non-tech savvy?

    I want more PC reviews that are not like OMFG go buy this game dude……..why are you reading this already…….go buy and play. That is what most sites are saying right now.

    • bill says:

      they’re having port forwarding problems? like demigod?

    • XM says:

      Yes something that was left off the back of the box but there was no room for all this I guess under system requirements. ;)

      “Required Ports for Modern Warfare 2

      In addition to the required ports for Steam, Modern Warfare 2 requires the following ports for multiplayer:
      UDP 1500 (outbound)
      UDP 3005 (outbound)
      UDP 3101 (outbound)
      UDP 28960

      For more information please see this page.

      Configuring Your Router

      If you do not have the original instruction manual for working with your router, please check your router for the manufacturer or brand name and the router’s model number. You will need to run a search for your router manufacturer’s website to find instructions for configuring your router to work with Steam and Modern Warfare 2.

      PortForward.com is also a useful resource for router-specific instructions (please note that the information provided at PortForward.com may not reflect recent additions to the required ports for Steam).”

      How are the shop staff going to explain this when you take the game back. IW said the PC version will work out of the box just like the 360/PS3 with IWnet.

      I’m not sure if I want to get it or not, it’s fun when it works is the general message.

    • frymaster says:

      that’s basically 1 port needing forwarded then (the rest only matters if you have a firewall that requires you to clear outgoing packets)

      on the one hand, not as bad as the farce that is borderlands

      on the other hand, the difference between needing 1 port and 5 ports is a minute or so of effort, while the difference between 0 ports and 1 port is rather more…

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      Hahahaha. That’s hilarious. Do Inifinity Ward really think that finding a dedicated server is more off-putting to casual players than setting up bloody port forwarding? Which is literally impossible on some UK ISP provided routers? I only wish they’d get financially punished for their disregard for PC gamers, but thanks to our wonderful laws, most people won’t be able to return the game when they find out they can’t play it, as the requirement is disclosed on the box.

    • Lack_26 says:

      I don’t think my router allows port-forwarding, God knows I’ve tried.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      I had to replace my Bebox (really a Speedtouch 585) with a Netgear router, because although there were options to port forward, they didn’t actually work in practice for UDP. Immediately resolved all my Demigod and Company of Heroes problems

    • Lagmint says:

      I’m curious, how would using dedicated servers require port forwarding? I haven’t had to port forward (other than Borderlands obviously) for YEARS and I’ve been playing multiplayer games all that time..

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      It doesn’t. Peer to peer games require port forwarding.

  11. liquidindian says:

    To be fair to Tom Watson, knee-jerk moralising seems to be more a vote-winner than reasoned engagement. I don’t think he’s being cynical here.

  12. Gap Gen says:

    The problem with this that I see is that it becomes like the health care ‘debate’ in the US – two vested interests slugging it out to the point where it becomes impossible to have a reasoned debate about the subtleties and shades of grey. Personally, I’m still unconvinced that the civilian killing scene in MW2 (caveat: which I haven’t played yet) is a good idea. Yet I don’t believe that all media violence is necessarily a bad thing (and for my money, nudity in media is utterly harmless, and it’s a distortion of the religious conservatives that leads to the belief that nudity will corrupt children).

    So yeah. I’m a little wary about joining a pressure group, because these things tend to go to extremes for the sake of moral clarity (in the same way that I’d be anxious about joining Greenpeace if it absolutely opposes nuclear power).

  13. James G says:

    To be honest, I don’t have enough faith in most of the games playing public to provide reasoned, non-reactionary counter arguments (admittedly to arguments which themselves are often neither reasoned nor non-reactionary.) While the moral panic from the likes of the Daily Mail is obviously pandering to particular groups of people, I fear the counter reaction often serves only to neatly further their point.

    Of course, this is part and parcel of just about any argument, especially one conducted over the Internet. To often I find myself more disheartened by my allies, than my opponents, as while the latter often look foolish and misinformed, it is the former that ultimately end up harming my cause.

  14. The Sombrero Kid says:

    corrupting the mind of the public is illegal. therefore the daily mail should be banned!

    i’d sign up if i was on facebook but i’m not.

  15. Michael says:

    The games industry is perfectly capable of lobbying for itself. I’m on facebook but I won’t sign up.

    Frankly I’d be very happy if the games industry was forced to accept that there are more ways in which humans can interact with each other than through killing. Not that I don’t enjoy a good shooter but there really is more to life. It’s as if Hollywood produced nothing but Van Damme films.

  16. Don says:

    @James G:

    That is about as succinct as I’ve heard anyone describe the problem with Internet argument, and most political argument.

  17. lumpi says:

    That pressure group is just full of angry internet man. The British MP is just an angry internet man. If you’re reading this, you are an angry internet man yourself and your opinion has no value. Shut up!

    • Gap Gen says:

      I do think that the whole “PC users are whiners, stfu about dedicated servers” thing kinda misses the point. Although anyone who believes that Activision cares about anything other than its bottom line is also a bit misguided.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      So you are an angry internet man angry about angry internet men?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I AIM to please.

  18. RagingLion says:

    I believe Tom Watson is pretty genuine from what I’ve seen thus far and I watched the parliamentary questions live out of curiousity having seen them mentioned in a BBC article yesterday morning.

    I’m totally with James G in wondering if the group would be able to offer anything more than just instant, poorly-thought-out, reactionary comments like what most internet arguments boil down to.

    However I think it’s worth a go in creating effectively a gamers lobbying body with a unified voice. Some of my cynicism with what a few people can achieve in politics has eroded in recent years, since it seems western politicians are often relatively responsive when a few people starting engaging with political issues, such is the general level of political apathy normally on show. And if someone shouts louder enough in their ear they’ll often feel duty-bound to do something about it. For example, my hunch is that if a unified body of gamers in Australia started raising it’s voice about the lack of an 18 certificate available to games there (which is the case to my limited understanding) they might actually achieve something. Maybe things will generally change as the average age of gamers increases.

  19. Paul Moloney says:

    “Frankly I’d be very happy if the games industry was forced to accept that there are more ways in which humans can interact with each other than through killing”

    Top games this week:

    http://www.geeks.co.uk/9635-this-weeks-top-selling-games-091009

    1 Wii Fit – No killing
    2 FIFA 10 – No killing
    3 Wii Sports Resort – No killing
    4 Football Manager 2010 – No killing
    5 Dragon Age: Origins – Killing
    6 Forza Motorsport 3 – No killing
    7 Mario & Sonic at Olympic Winter Games – No killing
    8 Grand Theft Auto Episodes – Killing
    9 Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 – - No killing
    10 Tekken 6 – Violence, not sure is there killing
    11 WWE Smackdown VS RAW 2010 – Violence, no killing
    12 Mario Kart Wii – No killing

    I think I’ve made my point. It might be good to know the facts before giving UK rent-a-quote whore MPs any more ammunition.

    P.

    • Michael says:

      @Paul Moloney

      1 Sport
      2 Sport
      3 Sport
      4 Sport
      5 Killing
      6 Sport
      7 Sport
      8 Killing
      9 Sport
      10 Violence
      11 Sport + Violence
      12 Sport

      My apologies. They really run the gamut of human experience.

    • Lagmint says:

      How goddamn narrow is that view though: driving cars is the same ‘sport’ as wrestling, and doing yoga is somehow equal to playing footie?

      All movies are two categories: action, or drama.

      Done! Let’s narrow some more fields!

  20. EyeMessiah says:

    That damn BBC article re. the FB group has MW2 spoilers in it. Stupid BBC!!!

  21. mesmertron says:

    Ooh, ooh, has anyone made the inevitable Political Action Committee pun yet?

  22. Lilliput King says:

    @Paul Moloney

    Well said.

  23. Cooper says:

    That this is led by an MP is somewhat interesting.

    To be honest, I don’t think we need this. In less than 5 years time, most incoming MPs will know games from at least their childhood, and probably have a Wii, Xbox or equivalent at their home for children and maybe even themselves. Moreover, more and more people are playing games that ever before.

    In any case, I’ve joined up, just on the off chance this goes anywhere.

    Personally I’d count myself as a post-anarchist, or a (feminist) post-structuralist anarchist, or whatever you want to call it I guess.

  24. shiggz says:

    For a “pressure group” to really have teeth you have to have either lots of money to bankroll campaigns or the large majority of your group has to be willing to vote for different parties based on support. I’m guessing this will be a no on both for your group?

  25. shiggz says:

    About the only trend in gaming that gives me pause is what i call the “pinata premise”. Simply that all the beings around me have treasure and if i bang them around enough i can take their treasure. That’s a very basic mechanic even in non violent games. But one that may hold fresh fun if it could be reinvented. Now If you’ll excuse me there are people in Ferelden who dont realize they are holding onto my loot.

  26. EthZee says:

    Wait. Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East? The one who punches sharks?

    This guy gets better every passing moment.

  27. Jae Armstrong says:

    I never thought I’d say this… but I really wish I had a facebook account.

  28. Jazmeister says:

    That’s it. All gamers should now move to West Bromwich East. We’ll start building a WH40K titan at once.

  29. Adam Whitehead says:

    Excellent. Now we need them to start campaigning for a law banning outright all forms of DRM and Internet registration for single-player games.