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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