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Play & Talk - George Osborn of UKIE Interview

We wanted to better understand this weekend's Play and Talk initiative so I sat down (virtually of course!) with George Osborn of UKIE to get his questions answered. 

Why play and talk?  Why is the act of playing together useful?

There are lots of great reasons to play and talk, but this week the best reason to do so is to help you, or friends or family, to feel less lonely.

Loneliness has touched so many lives since the start of this coronavirus crisis. According to the ONS, nearly one in three people and over half of 16-24 year olds have reported feeling lonely since lockdown life started in March.

In this world, playing a game online and talking with somebody is a great way to overcome feelings of isolation. Play gives you the freedom to be yourself and to enjoy yourself, which in turn makes it easier to talk to someone safely.

And with social distancing likely to play a big part of our lives for some time to come, online play also allows you to overcome challenges caused by the rules and keep in touch.

What is UKIE’s part to play?

Our role in this is to encourage games companies and people working in the industry to talk about the value of playing together.

There’s a popular misconception (or in some cases a negative stereotype) of games being a solitary activity for a narrow part of society.

But the truth is that video games are, in many cases, naturally social. Most popular online games have thriving communities; Twitch streamers and Youtubers foster close connection with their audiences; friends and family team up (or face off) against each other in their favourite games.

Our role is to help tell that story through meaningful actions, such as encouraging support for this campaign.

How can other organisations help the initiative?

The easiest way is to take part! This can be as simple as retweeting our campaign tweets, which will all be tagged with #PlayAndTalk from the @Uk_ie account.

But if you want to go further, we recommend:

  • Setting up a time to play with your friends or family this weekend to join the campaign
  • Consider, if you’re a streamer, finding one hour of streaming time at the weekend to dedicate to the cause
  • Put on a little multiplayer event at the weekend (e.g. an open tournament) to encourage people to get together to talk

Ultimately, you can get pretty creative. After all, if it gets people playing and talking then that’s all that matters!

If people are worried about their children being online what information is there to help them make it safe?

Our big tip is to visit As well as featuring loads of tips around the campaign, it offers loads of advice on how to safely communicate in games, turn on family controls to limit screen time and links to resources like the Family Game Database to help you pick the right games for your family.


For more information..

Code Wizards's Post on Play & Talk 

Play&Talk campaign page

Tips for getting set up for Play&Talk

CALM tips on games and avoiding social isolation

Get in touch with Grandparents through games



About the author

Martin Thomas

Martin Thomas

Chief Technical Office (CTO) for Code Wizards.

20+ years of experience in IT with specialisms in finance/fintech, retail, supply chain, games and esports.

Areas of interest include optimisation and performance enhancements, serverless technologies and the integration between automation across games, gaming and corporate enterprises.

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