Randy Pitchford Compares ESRB and NRA

Hey look!  An interview with Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford that doesn't go into the kerfuffel surrounding the development and release of Aliens: Colonial Marines!

Of course, that's because this interview with GamesIndustry International was conducted before that game's release.  It's a great discussion and it covers many interesting topics from violence in games to how game developers weigh the importance of artistic expression versus what's commercially viable but what caught our eye was Pitchford's comparison of the ESRB and the NRA.

"Think about the world's relationship and the game industry's relationship with the ESRB. The ESRB is our self-regulated ratings body; the industry created this body to put labels on games. Most publishers, we pay for the ESRB, but we also have this high tension relationship. They're really good at their jobs – they hold the industry accountable to fitting within the guidelines of whatever the label is and they will label appropriately. If you cross a line they will put you in a different spot, whether you want to be in that spot or not. And compared to the movie rating system, they have the best awareness and understanding of what their rating system is, and they have the best enforcement. Retail participates. That's awesome."

"Imagine if the NRA was actually advocating for gun laws; imagine if the NRA had the same relationship with the gun industry that the ESRB has with the game industry," he continued. "Instead of the NRA saying don't make any laws, now it would be like, 'F**k, the NRA's making me do all this so my guns are safer, and I get why they're doing it but it's kind of a pain in my ass.' That's how the game industry's relationship is with the ESRB. We love that it's there but we've got to deal with shit; we have to go through a process to get the rating. If we don't the retailers won't stock us, and when some of the content pushes the line a little bit they're going to call us on it and we have to deal with that. Imagine if the NRA had that same relationship with its industry, the rest of the country would be like 'Go NRA!' They could be good guys."

Source (story and pic): GamesIndustry International

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    black manta says:

    Yeah, his anaology is a little flawed.  I'd say a more accurate comparison would be with the MPAA to the ESRB.  He kind of did at first, but instead jumpe to the NRA, which is a stretch.

  2. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Yeah. That is where his comparison fell apart. He started off with a fairly coherent point. If the NRA would recognize that stupid and crazy people do stupid and crazy things and that such people need to be held accountable, we might see some change on that front. 

    I don't think we need more laws to take guns from people or limit the types or amounts of guns people can have. What we need are better education and training of gun owners. Better mental health services to treat and cure people with mental issues. We need more respect among people.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
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  3. 0
    Davin says:

    Randy is good at generating words. These words are occasionally relevant to the topic he is discussing at the time, but they don't tend to stay that way very long.

  4. 0
    locopuyo says:

    "Imagine if the NRA was actually advocating for gun laws; imagine if the NRA had the same relationship with the gun industry that the ESRB has with the game industry,"

    What?  The ESRB does not advocate video game laws, they advocate against them, just like the NRA advocates against gun laws.  

    If the NRA was like the ESRB there would be no gun laws and the industry would self-regulate.


    If it was the other way around all of the fun games would be banned.

  5. 0
    black manta says:

    I've said in the past that pro-video game organizations like the ECA could benefit from taking a page from the NRA's playbook.  While I don't approve of the NRA's strong arm tactics myself, and regardless of what anyone else here thinks of them, you can't argue that they've managed to secure a very powerful hold and influence on Washington, to the point where no politician in their right mind would even dream of introducing any gun-related legislation out of fear of having to deal with them (although that has been starting to change recently).

    Still once you realize that the NRA advocates for gun manufacturers rather than gun owners – which they claim to support – then the whole thing falls apart.  Still, I think if the ECA can be as big and as influential as they are, I don't think we'll be seeing any more anti-gaming legislation being proposed by politicians.

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