Has Microsoft killed our chances of getting video game programmes on TV?

And why, as far as the TV industry is concerned, do games no longer exist?

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Setting aside the obvious observation that, in the 1990s, there were plenty of successful TV programmes about games, and that games have moved way further into the pop-culture mainstream since then, there are countless ways to demolish that pathetic argument. Cursory web-searching will uncover countless one-man-and-his-dog operations that simply live-stream people playing games - invariably in the most tedious and inept manner possible. Yet they generate millions of views, showing just how desperate people are to see what games look like before they go and lash out forty quid on them.


Then there's the fact that leaving aside actual footage of games being played, there are plenty of interesting stories behind those games - iconic interviewees, technical innovations, the involvement of stars and celebrities, splashy launches, all the diverse elements that go towards making a game, artistic pretensions and so on. It would even be possible to make a programme about video games that would appeal to the sort of people who actually choose to watch reality TV shows.

Of course, the rise of cheap, brain-dead and soul-crushingly popular reality TV is part of the problem: it gives TV people a rigid format to which they can adhere to the exclusion of all else, allowing them to embed their heads even deeper in their sunless regions. It's obvious that TV as a whole has never been so bereft of ideas, unwilling to take even the tiniest of risks and so obsessed with pandering solely to the lowest common denominator than it is right now, but even so, denying the existence of the most significant industry within the pop-culture firmament is a bit extreme, to say the least.

At least there were odd, web-based outbreaks of decent games TV programming - far away from the world of mainstream TV - like Inside Xbox. But sadly, Microsoft has spent recent years performing an uncanny impression of the TV industry and lodging its corporate head where the sun refuses to shine. First there was that Dashboard redesign, intended to browbeat the rest of the world into subscribing to those services the Americans love but which fill the rest of us with indifference, and which resulted in everything that was good about Xbox Live being shunted out of sight, inevitably leading to the demise of Inside Xbox. Then there was the general bullying of developers and publishers to shoe-horn into their games utterly superfluous and unwanted support for Kinect - which, as we all know, is a great technology in many respects, but just isn't a very good control system for video games.


Sure, there are some Xbox 360 owners who bought their machines after getting bored with the Wii and becoming hooked by Microsoft's advertising blitz when Kinect was launched. Who are, of course, the people whose Xbox 360s now gather dust. Meanwhile, Microsoft pours contempt onto the committed owners who actually use their Xbox 360s on a daily basis.

Surely such behaviour will be noted when the next generation of consoles breaks cover in the near future?

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