ESA president on getting things done in Washington

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...

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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."

Discussion

28 comments
Alex4
Alex4

I've said this once before, and I'll say it again. Rockstar practically was "begging" for an AO rating, when they decided to release this intensely violent game on a highly interactive gaming console, the Wii. Why couldn't they just focus on the PS2 version, and not make a Wii version?! I've played Manhunt 1. That prior game is still the most gruesome/disturbing game that I've ever played (and I've played GOW2, RE4, the Punisher...etc.). So now PS2 fans are left with no Manhunt 2, because of the AO rating caused by a greedy Rockstar wanting to expand its audience.

artiebillymac
artiebillymac

Hate to be him right now but i wouldn't ban any game ..

maltiiatus
maltiiatus

I would agree with what he has to say about the film and music industry. Its easy for Stephen Spielberg or Angelina Jolie to jump on something and get people to listen, but if Hideo Kojima or Sid Meier walks up to the hill, people are going to say "Who?"

lamprey263
lamprey263

I hope Michael Gallagher stands up for Take Two and Rockstar instead of joining the violent game hating bandwagon to win favor with politicians.

christopherneal
christopherneal

I'd keep that "Bush Administration" work experience to myself if I were him. Not a good item for the resume. LOL He's the worst US President in modern history.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

ESA needs to help Take Two out right now.

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

Oh he is talking about the hill, umm Im pretty sure the guy in King of the Hill knows about Mario too.

snarple_basic
snarple_basic

Ummm he thinks Mario isn't a house hold name??? Mario is big enough to make his own theme park, hell Mario is much bigger then Bono..... Is he talking about the same Mario as I am? Or is he talking about a brother of his named Mario. This guy is clueless.

curua02
curua02

It's not politicians views that are the problem; it's the fact that these politicians have to pander to religious and parents' groups in order to get relelected. The ESA should turn some attention towards improving their image with the conservative right as a whole. Which will be an uphill battle, since entertainment industries as a whole are regarded as liberal in the extreme.

Blackstaff
Blackstaff

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

DonutTrooper
DonutTrooper

I think we might have to wait a generation until the younger people (of now) really take hold of politics, instead of hard-liners with no sense of humor, who spent their time watching Ronald Regan and complaining that the Atari 2600 was a distraction for their kids.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

This will never be sorted out anytime soon.

BewilderedRonin
BewilderedRonin

DoctorFu: "I really doubt that Mario hasn't become a household name. And even if it does. The real problem is that the people that decide which laws pass have no real idea of what it's all about." QFT! These are the people that think the internet is a series of tubes.

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

I doubt this guy has ever played games featuring MC or Mario but, hey, he knows his way around Washington, right? Given the money he obviously gets from the industry, you would hope so!

JamesL007
JamesL007

Well I can see his point, trying to recuit movie stars to defend the gaming industry would be a big thing. But I believe he better focus on the forecoming way of media attention over when Manhunt 2 is released and have a good plan of action, maybe he can get both Xbox and Sony to revise there AO standing too, so they can allow developers the freedoms to create more games that maybe intended for a older audience too. Peace

Maxer9
Maxer9

I would be glad if the MPAA ratings system applied to games- as probably more adults would be aware of it/care about it, but I don't really see the effective bans on AO games being lifted anytime soon. Simply it was a corporate decision of Nintendo and Sony to not allow those games to be sold, meaning that simply games of that content value wouldn't pass by them in the first place, regardless of the politics that revolves around the game companies. They just wouldn't sell the NC-17 games, in theory.

ktseymour
ktseymour

Master Chief and Mario are battling congress and senate up on the hill so we don't have to fight them down here....? Wooaahh, go guys, keep those nasty Ter..rrr, ah.. senators at bay. Seriously, a Bush adviser?

FilthyYamBag
FilthyYamBag

Hey baby if mario keeps games from getting banned and restricted, that' a win. Now seriously with the money being thrown around in games, it now being a billion dollar industry, lobbying will be a challenge but not that hard

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

The guy realizes that it's going to take time, and that's good. Hopefully he'll keep the lawyers running after idiot lawmakers while trying to lobby Washington.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I would have to say what bigmick07 said

htowngrindin
htowngrindin

UNless he can force the console manufactures to allow AO rated games on their systems, this isn't gonna push anything forward. If censors want to get a game banned in america, just rate in AO, and then NO ONE can play it.

NathanHawkins
NathanHawkins

I really liked the quote at the end. One day, as the younger become the older, issues of importance for the younger will become more prominent in places typically controlled by the older. The influence and impact of the gaming industry will slowly but surely catch hold especially after additional money enters the picture. An industry as prominent as the gaming industry will utilize lobbyists just as strongly or stronger as many of the concerns and issues that dominate the political spectrum currently.

bigmick07
bigmick07

maybe some new blood will change the way the ratings are going now *cough* manhunt 2 *cough* New blood could be very good or very bad, let's hope they start getting things right over there at ESA

fugori
fugori

I liked his descriptions of playing A Link to the Past with his children, but I'm concerned that he regards Manhunt 2's AO rating as a success. It's a terrible example of a broken system at work. @caesarbites It probably does, but it's a fact we have to deal with. The other industries have been around a lot longer, and Gallagher makes a good point when he mentions the influence of star power. Sid Meier just doesn't make the same impression as Nicole Kidman. In the extended interview he also mentions the age of our representatives, and that is also a good point. In time, as more gamers are elected into office, we might see more favorable policies directed toward the art form.

DoctorFu
DoctorFu

I really doubt that Mario hasn't become a household name. And even if it does. The real problem is that the people that decide which laws pass have no real idea of what it's all about.

caesarbites
caesarbites

The ESA has a lot smaller budget than the movie and music industry, but they spend more money lobbying. Doesn't that sort of prove right there that games are being treated unfairly?

Makhdoom82
Makhdoom82

I'm sorry ... there is nothing worth caring in this article !!! Please spare us with this useless boring news !!! I don't like these Rating guys anyway !!!

Polybren
Polybren

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."