Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher assumed his new position last month, during a busy time for the gaming industry trade group. Legislators in New York threatened to pass laws restricting the sale of violent games. Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 was effectively banned in the US because of an AO for Adults Only rating. To top it off, he assumed his new role barely a month in advance of the E3 Media & Business Summit--the first since former ESA president Douglas Lowenstein announced a radical series of changes to the show's format and then departed the industry entirely.
Despite that, Gallagher recently carved out some time to talk with The New York Times about his new position. While Gallagher declined to lay out his full battle plan for the trade group just yet, he did indicate a few areas where he would pick up right where his predecessor left off. Specifically, Gallagher wants to better position the ESA to have an impact in federal politics by coordinating an industry-wide approach to political donations.
According to the paper, Gallagher wants to use the late Jack Valenti's tenure as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America as a model for his own. No doubt Gallagher would like to duplicate Valenti's many successes lobbying for the film industry.
"Obviously we have a lot smaller budget than the music and movie industries, so we have to do more with less," Gallagher told the paper. The ESA might be outspending its counterpart trade groups in the music and movie industries when it comes to federal lobbying, but Gallagher noted there is a dearth of comparable star power in gaming.
"Washington is very enamored with glitz and the appeal of stars," Gallagher said. "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."