ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

February 18, 2009 -

Game publishers' lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association announced today that it has hired a new head of government relations (i.e., lobbying).

Jennifer Manner comes to the ESA by way of Skyterra Communications and the Federal Communications Commission, where she was senior counsel.

Manner replaces Ed Desmond, who exited the ESA for a post in the toy biz last September.

Interestingly, an ESA press release makes it a point to mention that Manner is a "long-time Democrat." We don't recall seeing a similar industry hiring announcement addressing an appointee's political affiliation.

Of Manner, former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy offered high praise:

Jennifer is an outstanding choice for this position. With her broad experience communicating effectively with multiple public and private sector stakeholders and tackling complex regulatory matters, the industry and the ESA will benefit from Jennifer’s leadership.


Comments

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

I would say it speaks to her and the ESA's position on net neutrality.  Which is counter to the stance of the gaming consumer.  The ESA wants net neutrality and Internet regulation, while the gaming consumer would like the option of services similar to LimeLight Network where gaming traffic is given priority.

 

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Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

No, only some game consumers are against net neutrality. Many of us do more with our internet connection than just play games. Some of us have lives outside gaming and want everything they do to have equal priority.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

So where is the strong gaming angle for net neutrality? Seems like you are a gamer who happens to want net neutrality, why is the ECA so vested in this issue when by your own admission gaming reasons are extraneous if not all together present? 

"lives outside gaming" you say but is not the ECA representing my gaming life?

I know you do not speak for the ECA but these differences do have to be reconciled at one time or another as the community seems split on the issue to begin with. 

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

The ECA support Net Neutrality on the stance that ISPs may decide that gaming related technologies use too much bandwidth and would then filter them much like Comcast did with P2P. There is also the stance that ISPs could charge extra fees to game content providers in order to give them priority access to their customers while not doing so for other content providers.

I support Net Neutrality because I don't think that an ISP should be allowed to charge any content provider outside their area of service fees to gain priority access. I don't think ISPs should charge consumers extra to do what they want to do.

That gaming tier that thelobbyist points out scares me as well. Who decides what goes into that? How does a startup business get their game related streams into that fast lane? How do you prevent an ISP from purposefully degrading less profitable gaming streams?

Next, I support Net Neutrality because of a lack of competition in ISPs. Many areas of the US are serviced by only 1 or 2 ISPs. How would one oppose an ISP who filters content that they use regularly? You cannot switch to another ISP because there are no alternatives.

These are questions you need to ask when you oppose Net Neutrality.

Here is another thought. Let's say my ISP does offer a gaming tier of service, but as a part of that service they degrade something else I do regularly online say video streaming. Now let's also say that they offer a video teir, but they degrade gaming to compensate? What am I supposed to do when I do both equally?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

Could you clarify when you say "what goes into that?" in regards to LimeLight networks?

 

Also one could argue that lack of competition in ISPs is a valid argument against net neutrality as well.  You would ostensibly still be locked into the whims of your current ISP as there would be no incentive for competition in your area.  

it would seem a more productive course would be to try to foster an environment that is appealing to other ISPs to start up in your area.  Granted that is not an easy task but certianly no less severe than a nation wide mandate in regards to net neutrality. 

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

Could you clarify when you say "what goes into that?" in regards to LimeLight networks?

Meaning, who decides what is a valid gaming stream. Let's take Flash as an example. Flash can be used to make games, display video and music, advertising, full blown websites etc. How will they determine what is gaming when it comes to Flash? Will they just speed up all of it or will they try to figure out what is an actual game. From a packet sniffer perspective they all look like Flash. There is no way to say to a packet sniffer, "This is a Flash Game."

Also one could argue that lack of competition in ISPs is a valid argument against net neutrality as well.  You would ostensibly still be locked into the whims of your current ISP as there would be no incentive for competition in your area.

I may still be locked into my current ISP, but at least I know that nothing is blocked or degraded.

But competition could still be fostered by offering faster connections at a lower price. It is not that hard to be competitive.

I guess what I am saying is why should my ISP choice be based on who filters what I do online the least. That is a bit like asking "Do I want a kick in the balls or a kick in the neck?"

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

When you say "they" do you mean Limelight? It seems that a valid gaming stream would be dictated by consumers willing to pay the likes of LimeLight with the understanding that they would have an increase in bandwidth.  Not so much a "decision" but rather a market reality.

In regards to competition being fostered, what you say is indeed true but it is also a circumstance that exisits right now without net neutrality (offering high speeds/lower price) but as many point out implementing net neutrality would give no incentive to increase infrastructure making you not only locked in with your current ISP but current technology as well.  Ultimatly net neutrality appears to be a sword in a job meant for a scalpel.  

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

When you say "they" do you mean Limelight? It seems that a valid gaming stream would be dictated by consumers willing to pay the likes of LimeLight with the understanding that they would have an increase in bandwidth.  Not so much a "decision" but rather a market reality.

Wait, I don't think I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that the customers have to take the time to flag gaming streams for the network? Why should the customer have to do the legwork for the ISP?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

I knew we were not on the same wave length on this. 

I wanted to know who you are talking about when you say "they".  I did not mean that customers would flag streams but they would indicate their preferences with thier wallets. Meaning a "valid" game network would be the one that gamers flock to due to increases in speed, reliability, or some other factor.  A label after the fact based on then present circumstances would be what I am suggesting.

   

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

Okay, that makes a little more sense. But the question still remains, what if the ISP is not speeding up a gaming network that I use. Perhaps some ubscure MMO or Web Based game site?

My thoughts are how is the ISP going to know what is a valid gaming stream in order to speed up all possible gaming streams?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

I cannot answer for a hypothetical ISP but the issue is somting you would have to bring up with them before you became their client or choose to subscribe to this new service. Though the specificity of the problem you present surely has numerous answers that are more dynamic than the hatchet job that would be net neutrality.  It will be hard to reach a perfect solution but that does not mean we should not work towards one.  

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

"Next, I support Net Neutrality because of a lack of competition in ISPs. Many areas of the US are serviced by only 1 or 2 ISPs. How would one oppose an ISP who filters content that they use regularly? You cannot switch to another ISP because there are no alternatives."

2 is if your lucky...

"Here is another thought. Let's say my ISP does offer a gaming tier of service, but as a part of that service they degrade something else I do regularly online say video streaming. Now let's also say that they offer a video teir, but they degrade gaming to compensate? What am I supposed to do when I do both equally?"

Likewise it also means they are spending more money on products to throttle only specific known ports or performing some serious live DPI which could instead have been spent on the infrastructure for what would probably be considerably less cost.


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Papa Midnight
http://www.otakutimes.com
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

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Papa Midnight

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

He didn't say gaming reasons were extraneous, he simply said there are reasons for wanting net neutrality besides games.

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

I'm guessing the long time Democrat comment has more to do with the party in power at the moment than anything else. 

Re: ESA Hires New Govt. Relations Head

So to make sure I understand this report correctly, the ESA has basically hired a new lobbyist to continue to push the government to create stricter IP laws (ala: DMCA and the mysterious ACTA), and pursue people who put mod-chips into Game consoles while seeking to not do something illegal such as some homebrew. Do I have a basic grasp of it?

Of course, she'll also be lobbying to keep a lack of game bills like the waste of perfectly good tax dollars we're about to see in Utah (economy can't be that bad if they can keep wasting money on this) from happening, as of which I'd say, fight the fight.

----
Papa Midnight
http://www.otakutimes.com
http://www.thesupersoldiers.com

----
Papa Midnight

 
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