Jason Kingsley responds to John Cridland

Dear John Cridland,

Whilst I share the core arguments of your recent presentation on STEAM subjects and the computer games industry, I must ask you to rethink your characterisation of what is a hugely successful industry as “spotty nerds.” 

I’ve got nothing against anybody who is in fact spotty or a nerd, and whilst I appreciate that sometimes one needs to ‘exaggerate for effect,’ your statement is something that has never been true about the massively valuable games industry even in its nascent days, and is still even less true now.

It is simply counterproductive to stigmatise our highly technical and creative industry with terms like this. Many of my colleagues come from arts and technical backgrounds, sometimes a combination of both. To belittle pure academic achievement with words like nerd or geek is something done by bullies, and is surprising coming from someone in a position to influence the career choices of many young people, some of whom respond to social pressure in ways that may not benefit them in the future. To be a nerd is to be passionate about something, and surely we should want everyone to be passionate about their career?

I’m pretty sure you’ll apologise, and that you didn’t really mean the words you said. It is essential that this country celebrates all types of academic and non-academic achievement, and belittles none. Our industry needs multitalented people from all walks of life and from all backgrounds.

Equality of opportunity is what I hope we offer in the games industry. Not everybody can be successful, but all can try.

By the way, I’m a games designer, artist, boss of Rebellion, jousting knight with warhorse, lance and sword, Oxford full Blue, international sporting competitor and trustee of Her Majesty’s Royal Armouries, as well as Chairman of TIGA, the trade body that represents the games industry.

I would hope I deserve a broader description than “spotty nerd.”

Yours sincerely,

Jason Kingsley OBE