Industry Types Respond to Lowenstein's Exit Speech

February 22, 2007 -
Each week video game development site Gamasutra asks professional game developers a specific, industry-related question. 

Last week the site asked its readers to comment on former ESA boss Doug Lowenstein's farewell speech, delivered recently at the D.I.C.E. Summit.

Perhaps surprisingly, the vast majority of the respondents were in total agreement with Lowenstein, although a few took issue with his tone.  Here is a small sampling of responses:
Nintendo's efforts to appeal to the mainstream is a significant step toward removing the power of politicians who seek to grandstand... the ultimate step toward preventing video game censorship is finally recognizing them as a true art form... -John Leffingwell, Xot

I agree with Lowenstein that it's totally lame that only a few hands in the room went up saying they are members of the Video Game Voters Network. That kind of apathy from the industry is stupid.    -Belinda Van Sickle, GameDocs

Artists should be responsible for safeguarding the moral integrity of their creations against the public's misinterpretation, lest we return to the era of witch hunts...  -Pierre-Luc Lachance, Ubisoft Montreal

I think his points about journalism are especially well founded. He didn't say it, but its obvious what he's talking about, too - professionalism.  -David Lannan, Eidetic Technology Pty Ltd

Our first amendment rights offer protection for all speech--both important and baseless--and it's the unpopular speech that needs protecting more than any other kind. -David Sirlin

It won't change anything. And, he did this at the END of his tenure. He basically made a scene and left. Is that really taking responsibility?"  -Sutton Trout, Empire Interactive

Read all the comments received by Gamasutra here.

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

Comments

I liked Doug Lowenstein as the head rep for the ESA but i think he didn't do enough to try and get the politicans and the mainstream media off our backs while he was in. Personally, i think he left due to making alot of enemies in the political square.

the industry is a mindless cow nawing on all the green it can see and wondering why it winds up at the bottom of a cliff now and then,the game industry is slowly becoming like hollywood in every,blame the consumer for not buying enough,sue the consumer if they disagree with you and pause and wonder why hot titles are not selling because are made to quickly and to poorly.

I personally agree with what Doug said. The industry has done very little in defence of itself. It may come from the idea that "It's not my game they are complaining about." But they may not name your game directly but you are effected by it because you make games.

Now it doesn't matter if he said at the beginning or at the end, the result would have been the same, blank stares. That is the current state of the industry.

I think everyone's forgetting something. Lowenstein has no real -authority- over game developers. -All- he can do is speak from the pulpit his position gives him, and I think he's done a fairly good job at that. He could have done a better job, certainly, but don't make the mistake of thinking that the ESA has any sort of -control- or -authority- (as opposed to indirect influence by dint of perceived seniority of their spokespersons) over A) how games get made and what content goes into them, and B) how magazines and websites review games.

You can argue that he wasn't aggressive enough in fighting bad legislation (which isn't true. The ESA has met the bills that've made it into law, and frankly their budget -is- limited), or that he hasn't done enough to promote ratings education (and -there- I'll concede that there's more work that could be done), but those weren't the main thrusts of his parting speech.

Lowenstein's action was a case of too little, too late.

As usual, in the game industry.

I agreed with the content of a lot of what Lowenstein said, but like many others I think his aggression was excessive and his timing was off.

It's easy to complain about all the problems with an organization/industry when you're washing your hands of the issues; it would have engendered a lot more respect for Doug had he been so candid at the start of during his tenure.

Irony is that most of the points he brought up he could've DONE something about when he still held office.

But nah, rather sell out and whine about it later, instead of DOING something about it.

I agree 100% with Trout. If he'd been this outspoken while in office, I'd feel much more kindly towards it, but this didn't accomplish anything except to show all the problems that he didn't fix.

Lowenstein’s rant was jut that a rant it has some depth to it but for the most part it was a rant.

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Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
SleakerI think a large part of the controversy stems from the idea that games aren't culture setters, but culture reactors, and simply depict what is already in culture. So people don't care that games use tropes or are blind to them because we've failed ...08/29/2014 - 12:20pm
AvalongodBesides, what better way to make her point for her than to respond to her opinion by behaving like a misogynistic asshole. Sure, it may be a troll account, but that doesn't make it "ok"08/29/2014 - 12:19pm
AvalongodWhether Sarkeesian is "right" or "wrong" is not relevant, neither she nor any other woman should have to expect that her opinion will be met with death threats or even just sexist language.08/29/2014 - 12:18pm
Andrew EisenOh, may as well. Zip, I challenge you to cite three specific examples from the TvW videos (use direct quotes and time stamps) and explain how/why they ring hollow or are over exaggerated.08/29/2014 - 11:56am
Andrew EisenZip - Bullies on both sides? What both sides? And of course bullies are worse than people who aren't bullies.08/29/2014 - 11:23am
Neeneko(2) yes, male tropes also have problems and gender studies looks at those too. But this highlights a privilage problem, the idea that if male issues are not brought up too female issues should not be discussed.08/29/2014 - 10:42am
Neeneko@ZippyDSMlee - jumping back (1) one can acknowledge systemic problems without requiring every male be a Neanderthal.08/29/2014 - 10:42am
 

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