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How video games became the lockdown play…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts all across the UK and screens are the only route to teachers and friends are children now have and it's the same process using it, but something has received a major boost during the pandemic is the popularity of video games you can play together online.

I've got the two people behind some of the biggest games on the planet David Stata is from adopt me which is an insanely popular game on ROBLOX if you know a child under the age of also known as a very real chance they'll be able to tell you all about it and Lydia Winters is Chief storyteller at Mojang Studios which makes Minecraft I'll be talking to guys a bit later in the program, but give us a sentence as you been seeing in game David how many players are on adopt me at the moment.

What is second is probably close, but 400000 people playing last month we store approximately 64 million monthly users in the month of December incredible video what sort of Brewster's Minecraft had employer activity since the pandemic started in multiplayer, so people really want to play together right now and on the other end of the spectrum.

We have Steve Thompson the end of the olden times which extraordinarily launched this week a Daily Press newspaper a newspaper isn't a media event we hear about very often these days, so I thought we should celebrate the moment Steve describe that feeling you had when you met the delivery van on the Monday full of those ones new inky Editions it was it was weird and exciting moment as we're in lockdown and I didn't get to meet the delivery van.


It was a it was like the culmination of a very busy Christmas period where I did a lot of work and not too much celebrating.

We have Jodie Birkett who is technology media telecommunications partner at Deloitte Jodie was a new old school newspaper something you predicted for 2021 for us and Whistle 40% increase in digital subscription revenues that sort of 20% decline in advertising revenues over the same period last year so very much again.

It's brilliant.

That's very soon, but first to what might be the big Media story of the week yesterday.

Talk radio had it YouTube channel deleted Google owners of YouTube said they've a radio station which is part of Rupert Murdoch's News UK because of a breach of YouTube's policy on covid-19 formation talk radio protest, it's innocent innocent.

It was backed up by some.

Politicians as well done last night Google said that after a further review talk radio was allowed back on the world's most popular video platform Marianna spring is BBC disinformation reporter and Chris Tucker walk is an author and expert on YouTube Mariana talk radio says it still doesn't know what it did wrong.

What do you think happened? So it seems that you decided to remove it's channel for breaching its rules on coronavirus that means they seems that some of the videos from talk radio were contradicting advice by experts and officials for instance the world Health Organisation and YouTube and Google did say that they removed specific incidences of videos and comments which were in breach of their guidelines, but this marks a real escalation in this battle between social media sites and Miss information particularly, because they're trading is very fine line between issue of free speech especially when it comes to a mainstream news outlets and then this information about the pandemic that could cause real-world harm and yesterday as we saw they were widely.

Decision to remove talk radio, but a lot of the speakers on the radio station have repeatedly made claims that fat checkers and other scientists have challenged and regarded as miss information.

I would say that they are challenging the government's Handling of the pandemic and they're open to free speech Chris you've looked at how YouTube works.

You've written a book about in fact.

How common is it for YouTube and a prominent channel run by mainstream news organisation and then of course you turn not as much as you would think I mean we have had some large Charles been removed.

You'll have to think of people like Alex Jones and United 8273 contentious things but this is really uncharted waters particularly, the reverse will so quickly I think it talks to the challenges around coronavirus and keeping Faith through information online in such a pluralise mediaworld.

Is there a mismatch between YouTube's rules and Ofcom broadcasting code because talk radio is a fully Ofcom regulated station yet it seems you.

Perhaps go further than Ofcom there is no I think this is one of the big challenges show around sites like YouTube and other places have potentially become or public spaces for discourse.

Is you have to remember these are private companies.

We do have to operate and abide by their rules even if we think that this is now such a big place that it is essentially a mass media broadcast yes, this is a huge challenge but I think that we shouldn't be surprised and we have to think of the alternative if there was missing information as YouTube says going out there to potentially millions of people then and play huge risk from GB news the Andrew Neil back news channels launching later this year.

It's promising 840 new jobs and he's got some big financial backers had an album revealed of course radios parent company News UK is also launching its own news channel later this year if you're a fledgling news channel, how important is being on YouTube do you think your business plan? I think it is enormous.

Is that is where the generation of tomorrow who are media consumers for the next 2030 years are going to be you only have to look at a talk radios YouTube present so the figures for a directional radio broadcaster the Hood by about 424000 people every single week now.

I topped it up the number reviews on talk radio YouTube over the last week as well.

That is 1.9 million.

So this is really a broader more international user base and audience for these thoughts platforms, so it's crucial to them and that planning although temporary would sort of affected in America has I think it could have had a big one because altimet Lee it sorted two purposes warnings Nan if you are one of those people who believe that look down is misguided and all of the scientific and medical evidence proves that isn't the case and it is gross to your meal.

It is censorship of the worst kind, but if you are someone who believes that it is.

Shouldn't be happening that basically we shouldn't be spreading misinformation and disinformation like this then ultimately it's a good thing to happen.

So I think it is difficult to say what the impact will be ultimately YouTube comes out of it looking badly.

Talk radio looks oddly out of it as well, so I don't think anybody really winds and I can you put this into a broader context for us when we talking about nation does YouTube have a bigger problem than other platforms it depends and has been increasing pressure on the social media sites Facebook Twitter Instagram which is owned by Facebook WhatsApp on YouTube more to tackle falsetta about coronavirus on YouTube we tend to find that there are really slick and highly produced videos that have promoted fultons about the pandemic and that's been a struggle for them to deal with the other platforms.

Have a huge problem as well Facebook groups are often hotbeds for disinformation whether it's about the vaccine or whether it's suggesting that covered isn't real Twitter to an Instagram and is very hard to limit.

Can you find that this information spread between platform so this is an issue being faced by all of them and as that line becomes more blurred between legitimate concerns and Debate and then lies and conspiracies.

They are in an even more difficult position.

How do they take this position for all the social media platforms and somebody they haven't got enough until now.

Thank you very much in the spring and to Christopher Walker back to Steve Thompson editor of the olden times.

This is the new daily newspaper that just launched the people of Oldham Steve question.

Are you on YouTube reporting on YouTube no? It's not actually we have native videos on our websites.

We have and we get advertising revenue of course from from those know we not on YouTube whether that's a good thing or not.

I'm not sure it's not that important, then I remember when I was a trainee reporter at the Bolton News and I'm that.

Now we did have a YouTube channel alongside are a native video so you know maybe we'll pick that up again who knows things change so quickly in this environment.

Don't I do and this latest changes is quite an interesting one.

How many copies are you printing and what's your business plan? Because I got to be honest on the surface.

It seems like a bold move.

Yeah, it's definitely ambitious word printing 5 copies a day.

We sell close to that on for the weekly edition.

We want the Oldham times.

Just over 3 years ago you remember that the Oldham Chronicle which was really paper for the town folded back in 2017 and I wasn't in this office then but the former editor Ian Savage was given just under 4 weeks to launch a daily paper and they turned around really quickly and it was a big success and it's pushed on since then online figures are doing really well, we're getting.

2/2 million page views a month so it was just time really to to push on to the next level time is not great with coronavirus.

Especially not with lockdown.

You know that's probably literally the worst thing happened at the start of January 1st but I'm glad that we were able to get it over the line and get it out on on shelves really but in some ways.

It's not down the perfect time because I saw your website really pushing the idea of home delivery and of course people who were looking looking for the local news especially the older generation.

They can't go out and they don't want to go out.

So are you signed up so far? Yeah definitely we do we are really pushing home delivery like you say people get the paper delivered for free or no extra charge.

It's a cheaper newspaper than the weekly price to attractively.

We think and you've got remember that there's that digital divide isn't that the older generation don't get their new.

Play the smartphone they're not force-fed headlines on social media and they still like that physical.

Copy of the newspaper.

We've gone back to basics a little bit.

We've got puzzles pull out every week.

We've got a nostalgic section running tomorrow.

We've got a big TV guide at the weekend.

So it's giving that you know classic print reader everything that come from a local daily paper, but you have been hit quite hard.

I mentioned that advertising revenues down about 20% I think we saw year-on-year sales getting close to - 20% pre pandemic.

We would really be looking to be below - 10% Cos we know that prince to decline year and yeah, but we've seen that creeper in November you no physical sales were the numbers were getting better towards Christmas so we'll actually that continuing we start.

A base of 0 for the new daily paper so hoping to see some really positive figures in the first month bringing Jodie Birkett then who studies trends in media for the the olden times is put a newsquest which has hundreds of local papers around the country.

There's a school of thought that if you own enough little papers if you keep costs down and very lean operation the summer parts add to a previous business, but do you think the future local news really is in you print editions.

So I think in terms of what I said at the start.

It's a surprise in terms of launch the daily local newspaper isn't something that we predict it, but when you and packet you can see compelling reasons as to why Seasons team of journalists and why it could be part of the future Solutions that we were just talking about the fact that fake news is it is very is present everywhere online and actually people are moving towards a new source of their trust and a local newspaper would be a new source of interest in it also played to the trend seen in some Communities really running together during the pandemic.

So it definitely plays those two and a final point is want Steve made, which are there and it's not everybody is comfortable in accessing the news online and the majority of the olden times like lot of local news readers are going to be older people with pension age.

We're about to talk about a pandemic as supercharge the growth of video games has the pandemic changed any of

Have it's an older people that you've seen absolutely has an accelerated transmisiune catching up of some of the older age demographics with some of the younger age groups in terms of description video-on-demand services, then out over half of the aged 55-64 now have access to at least one subscription Video on Demand service and I suppose that will ultimately changed in terms of how users can choose you think what we must remember that age group consume a lot more television on average than the younger age groups of the trend that they demonstrate has a proportionate impact on how to record television is being consumed and the impact on the Public Service Broadcasting you thanks very much for coming on imagine.

You're keen to get off tomorrow's addition to the Printers what's your deadline? What time is it 9 p.m.

Tonight? Have you got a front page yet? Yes, we do.


I've got three front pages 403 daily paper and what's on the olden times so does a

Play ambitious 100000000 developments going ahead in Oldham at the moment and we're leading on the opening of the link road to said development great good luck with the paper.

Thanks very much Steve Thompson editor of olden times so homeschool officially finished a couple of hours ago relaxing in the staff room.

I can almost hear the corks pop out of wine bottles and what about what other people they doing their homework probably not they probably playing video games or chatting with their mates.

You've got the opportunity now to hear from two people behind some of the games then most likely to Lydia Winters is the chief storyteller at Mojang Studios which makes Minecraft one of the biggest games in the world David Stata is from adopt me a game on the hugely popular ROBLOX Lydia in 30 seconds if you can what Minecraft is.

Minecraft is a game about placing and breaking blocks it is an open world game where you can choose and do whatever you want and it's massively popular, what sort of thing are most likely to playing we have such a wide range of players.

I think her average ages still in xx switch the prices, but we have such as such a huge spread of of a display.

Is there a minimum age for 34 playing if you could use the iPad you can play or we have a lot of Uno PC players that are all there.

So very very spread out.

So it's family the family friendly genre of video games just like ROBLOX David the thing about your game adopt me is actually not much to do in.

It's all about interacting with your friend and making up games together.

Is a sort of digital school playground and is that one of the appeals right now? That's a really good way to describe a game there is there is stuff to do.

It's not as bad as sandboxes some point but yeah, it is it's the world of imagination.

So you the game is about friends family raising pets decorating your home, but that's the game as you say it's like the school paper on the limits of your imagination and what is the bit that you make the adopt me side which is actually the most popular game inside ROBLOX isn't it? What would you actually doing that? I personally when working on the YouTube say things on social media but when I'm in game to play a lot of the decorating home home.

Sorry things.

I've spent a disproportionate amount of time decorating my house as opposed to my new house.

Percentage of British kids do you reckon you are now reaching David over Christmas and estimating around a third of 16 well, that's that is reaching it and how does your game fit into the ROBLOX world in terms of the sort of business relationship.

Do you pay to have your game in Roblox no ROBLOX is they provide all the tools that you as a designer need to create your game and one of the main things that I'd like to find out about ROBLOX is a very diverse you can create what you want.

So there are first-person shooter is there are role-playing cakes, but we can fit into the role-playing game more expensive way and I've mentioned a huge growth experienced during the pandemic and we've had some of your eye watering numbers, but what is it like in terms of business Lydia you're a Swedish company in origin now of course.

Buy Microsoft have you been run off your feet are you having to hire more developers? Was it look like when the game goes through such exponential growth required and we were around 30 people and now where you know somewhere in the 4 to 500 which is a lot of girls but also not that much compared to the sides, but definitely this for your we've seen you know a huge huge growth especially with people being at home and then obviously Minecraft education edition where suddenly seem even more students and teachers playing and it seems like the olden times exploded in popularity.

All it means I just printing more additions you as a tech company as a media giant.

What do you have to do when when you get so many more people logging on do you have to scale up in terms of the servers that all the technical side of this is can you describe?

Yeah, I've been there so many different facets of the business that you need to scale up and make sure things are running smoothly we can handle the amount of players for our education edition.

It's thinking about the content and suddenly futures needing more lesson plans more opportunity to be with their students.

We also released lessons in education for the first time in our Minecraft marketplace to that anyone can use them because all the Saturday in March we realise students are at home.

So how can we contribute overall to education and learning when everyone is at home? So it's a lot of different facets of the business and thinking about how can sort of skills are also realising as you hire Newquay for their coming into a company at a time where they're meeting any of their colleagues in real life.

An interesting challenge, but one with your privilege to take on as we know.

There's a lot of businesses that are struggling right now and will come back to that education side of Minecraft David in terms of road to the dark meat tell us about your experience of the last 9 months has it been you know this is much busier now.

You got four more players.

Yes for sure we will sing a healthy curved 2020, but that was definitely supported by the fact that a significant number of people who couldn't go to the park.

They couldn't go to cinema.

They couldn't do anything really that fun except for you so much pain and play games at home and we kicked a lot of boxes for the people that were looking for things to do and I'm interesting how you both making money from this incredible growth.

You adopt me in Roblox the world.

It's it's in both free to download is that correct so so, how do you make money is it in our purchases pretty much wear a free-to-play game? You don't need to.

Money into a game to get majority of the benefits from it like most 3ty games that the ingame purchases just help you kind of get there quicker and what sort of things there.

Are you able to buy we have a variety of different pets? We try to release different things so each egg.

Will have a randomised that you will get from the collection so kind of like when you put 50p in in the machine is the randomness to it and that's part of the appeal if you don't quite know which pad you're going to get one of the great things about is it provides a collaborative space for friends in competing in a traditional game sense we find out players collaborate.

So if you can't get all the pets.

You need to create the rare neon pet you were your friends too.

It's together and then you share the result from all your buggy parents until they hand over the other games like Angry Birds all the lucrative spinoffs merchandise.

Film is this something you're planning to do in 2021.

We are business unlimited my train at the moment with to expand on that we we still the same team as the Deer explained we have 14 counties in 150 percent increase in our player base in the space of year.

So we are still privately owned with good money, but that money is being reinvested into a product you say you've only got about 80 people in your team 4060 million players.

To pay upfront for the game, but you also make a huge amount of money through in-app purchases sent you is creating new experiences to the Minecraft marketplace that people can purchase and there's a subscription for that so we have a better model.

There's also always been some controversy around in-app purchases especially in games and children.

Have you got anything in place in terms of safeguards to stop children accidentally buying lots and lots of upgrades and things like that everyone to make responsible purchases so we really make sure that we're on the sort of forefront of ethical monetization to make sure pushing things in a way that really is bad for the player and for their family Chris you obviously covered all the sorts of stories in the past.

Is there any she around?

Children bug in a pansy much about spending money on the game another absolutely there is a huge trouble with this sort of stuff.

We seen it was loot boxes.

We've seen this with in-app purchases it seems like every single major event or at that happens.

There is always this controversy, but as long as there are decent strict limits in there as long as parents have ability to kind of monitor this stuff then surely it should be OK anything with the size of something like Minecraft and Roblox is there a public service remit because we had yesterday from the BBC they now plans to write the biggest ever offering of Educational programs for children to help.

Do you think perhaps these games could do more when we seeing huge numbers of things like concerts and gigs and allsorts happening during lockdown in these environments.

I think that really fascinating to see if they can maybe grasp the nettle and try and help out little bit more given the huge numbers that was seeing you.

I know you you're doing educational programs in Minecraft your offer.

Programmes on the actually being used my kids on the Education collection that we launched in March to sort of brought in learning opportunities for everyone that was going to be at home.

We've seen 65 million downloads of the booking at the human eye the national space station.

So this is a moron the the general learning as side vs.

In Minecraft education edition.

Have you got have you got plans to launch anything like this to help us parents out of strictly Education front we're still be on it? I would love to work more on that for sure but I think from a public service point of view what we really offer is for the chance to for parents that parents at home as well like sit down play games with your kids learn what it is that.

Excited and if you have concerns about the money that they put into it understand.

What is the one from that investment? Thank you very much unlike the world of Minecraft and Roblox this bit of immediate is sadly of a fixed-length we her Marianna spring and Kris Stocker Walker earlier Steve Thompson the editor of olden times Lydia Winters from Minecraft David matter is from the ROBLOX game adopt me and Jamie berkett is from the light.

Thank you very much for everyone for your contributions and thanks very much for listening and I will be back at the same time next week.

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