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ESA boss pushing for a political voice for gaming

7:10 PM on 07.02.2007

David Houghton

Former Associate Editor

The good news just keeps coming. Following ex-ELSPA boss Roger Bennett's outspoken comments against the recent treatment of videogaming by the powers that be, the new head of the Entertainment Software Association has unveiled plans to get our favorite medium the respect it deserves within the political arena. Speaking to The New York Times, Michael Gallagher sounded very passionate indeed about giving the games industry a voice equal to those of other entertainment industries, and about the political representation he'll be seeking to achieve that.

At this point I could again go over the reasons this is important in terms of the current state of industry growth but Mr. Gallagher does that more than adequately himself, so I'll simply refer you to his words, which you can find after the jump. Bear in mind this guy has previously set up LAN Doom matches in the offices of a congressman he used to work for, so I'd say he's a pretty good man to be backing.

The average video-game player is 33 years old and has been playing for an average of 12 years," he said. "It is not something you do as a phase in your childhood and leave it behind. Now it's a part of your entertainment culture.

Washington is very enamored with glitz and the appeal of stars. Whenever Bono shows up he creates this bow wave as he comes through, and it's true that stars do help drive messages. And it is true that Master Chief and Mario are not yet household words on the Hill, but wait for the years ahead.

I think there is a bit of a generation gap, federally, given that a number of the legislators — especially since Congress operates on the seniority system — are older. Video games came very late in their content-consuming careers, and so they're not as familiar with the intense innovation, competition and excitement that come from video games.

The main challenge is connecting with decision makers and creating champions for the video-game industry in the policy-making arena, so working to set up a way for the Entertainment Software Association to participate in the federal election process is one of my top priorities. Contributing on the federal level is a very important part of our success going forward.

Now if you'll excuse me, myself and Jim are firing up our pipes, adjusting our monocles, and heading out to the manor grounds for a celebratory deer shoot. This is very heartening news indeed.

[Thanks to Joe Burling

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David Houghton

Former Associate Editor
 
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