In a move that?s sure to make every gamer and developer aware of the Entertainment Software Association?s role in the game industry, ESA President Doug Lowenstein has unflinchingly declared that game developers and publishers must accept partial responsibility for the game industry?s poor public image.
?We have met the enemy and it is us,? Lowenstein proclaimed during his keynote address at the recent PR for Games Conference in San Francisco. He feels that the game industry has made itself ?an easy target? for self-proclaimed culture warriors. He blames such factors as the lack of preparedness game developers and publishers have for dealing with the press surrounding a controversial game?s release, lack of participation in local political arenas by developers and publishers, and Democrats looking to recoup their voter losses from the 2004 elections by adopting a Republican-style ?family values? approach (read: ?protect the children? from violent media).
Lowenstein suggested some possible responses to this dilemma in his keynote address. Such responses include educating reporters about the safeguards the industry has set up to prevent inappropriate content from being sold to minors, meeting with local political representatives to inform them of the positive impact a game developer or publisher has on a local economy, and a ?need to change the debate? about games in national-level politics. He points to the cell phone industry rising above the initial negative publicity of the alleged harmful effects of cell phone use, and recommended that the game industry take a similar approach, pointing out its influence in other technology sectors, such as high-definition television, and broadband internet access.
Lowenstein argues that such action must be taken soon to minimize the effects that runaway criticism has on the game industry. ?Once that train gets ahead of you, you’ll never catch up,? he said.