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Lowenstein blasts games industry

Fri 09 Feb 2007 9:46am GMT / 4:46am EST / 1:46am PST

In his final speech as president of the Entertainment Software Association, Doug Lowenstein blasted publishers, developers and the gaming press for failing to protect the future of the industry.

In his final speech as president of the Entertainment Software Association, Doug Lowenstein blasted publishers, developers and the gaming press for failing to protect the future of the industry.

Speaking at the DICE Summit yesterday, Lowenstein said, "I'm sick and tired of people in this industry sitting on their hands and waiting for others to do the hard work.

"What is the problem? You cannot expect this industry to grow and prosper if you are not willing to put the time and effort into it."

He asked the audience how many of them had signed up for the Video Game Voters Network and was met with a poor show of hands. "I gotta tell you, that's pathetic," Lowenstein said, arguing that the VGVN is the simplest way to get involved.

"You have to go on a website, click a few keystrokes, and you can send letters to Senators and Congressmen. And 90 percent of the people in this room who have a stake in the future of this industry haven't bothered to take the time to do that. And it makes me sick."

Lowenstein also had some strong words for "publishers and developers who make controversial content, and then cut and run when it comes time to defend creative decisions", stating, "Nothing annoys me more."

"If you want to be controversial, fine - that's great. But damn it, don't duck and cover when the sh*t hits the fan."

It wasn't just games companies who were in the line of fire. "I think the games press doesn't ask enough of itself, and I hope that it does. It needs a higher level of maturity. It needs to take itself seriously," Lowenstein said.

"The games industry press has the ability to push this industry to greater heights and greater success."

He went on to chastise the games press for giving the most coverage to notorious anti-videogames campaigner Jack Thompson - and therefore, Lowenstein argued, credibility.

In addition, Lowenstein slammed the press for sloppy reports of what had occurred in ESA board meetings and claiming that he was leaving the organisation because he was upset over the fall of E3 - and leaving the organisation rudderless without him. "It drives me crazy," he said.

E3, according to Lowenstein, was a hugely important trade show which helped to change perceptions of gaming. "It put this industry on the map like nothing else could have done. We never could have drawn the mass-media without a central event.

"In 1994, this industry was unknown, it was backwater, it was the stepchild of entertainment," Lowenstein continued.

"That has changed. There is an awareness of this industry. Not always the most positive oneā¦ Knowledge of this industry is much greater than it was 12 and a half years ago."

Concluding his speech, Lowenstein told the audience, "Things have improved a lot in twelve years. We matter now. People pay attention to what we say and do."

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