Following The Money That Influenced SOPA-PIPA Push

February 7, 2012 -

SaveTheInternet points out some interesting information dug up by Media Matters about where a lot of big media money has gone and why some lawmakers pushed so hard for the passage of SOPA and PIPA. While their analysis can't show that the money was directly related to PIPA and SOPA, it certainly shows the level of influence money has in Washington.

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Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

January 25, 2012 -

Joel Kelsey, a top political adviser for Free Press, has written an editorial urging U.S. lawmakers who have taken money from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to give it back. Writing over at SaveTheInternet.com, Kelsey makes this request in light of recent comments from MPAA president Chris Dodd made to Fox News. In case you don't remember:

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Hollywood Interest Groups Issue Joint Statement on SOPA, PIPA

January 23, 2012 -

The Directors Guild of America issued a statement on Friday about SOPA and PIPA - in conjunction with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

First this collective of Hollywood interest groups attempted to put a happy face on a bad situation:

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ESA Spends $190k to Lobby Lawmakers about PIPA

January 16, 2012 -

What level of commitment does the Entertainment Software Association have in the anti-piracy bills before lawmakers? About $190,000's worth according to a Kotaku report.

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Australian Christian Lobby Compares Games Industry to Tobacco Companies

January 12, 2012 -

Update: This story is apparently ancient history from March 2010. While it's fun to refresh your memory, it's not news. We apologize for presenting it as such.

The Australian Christian Lobby is doing its best to slow down the momentum of an R18+ ratings classification in Australia by using a new tactic: comparing mature video games to cigarettes. The group used the public consultation period for the R18+ classification to assail the games industry.

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Epic Fail: Lawmakers Support SOPA While Staffers Download Illegal Files

December 28, 2011 -

While lawmakers are arguing over SOPA and Protect IP - two bills that could change the way the Internet works in order to fight piracy - it seems that many staffers on Capitol Hill are spending a lot of time downloading movies, TV shows, music, games and books via BitTorrent. According to a report from TorrentFreak over 800 IP's that originate from Capitol Hill are at the BitTorrent trough, even as they write laws against illegal downloading and file-sharing.

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Who Supports SOPA: Special Interests

December 22, 2011 -

The House Judiciary Committee has released this PDF with a list of organizations and companies that support the anti-piracy/rogue web sites bill, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). We have listed some of the companies that have publicly thrown their support behind this controversial legislation, but today we offer the full list.

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Writers Guild of America West Expresses Concerns About SOPA to Lawmakers

December 14, 2011 -

It looks like the Writers Guild of America West has some concerns about SOPA. In a recent post on the trade group’s site, they wrote about a recent visit to Washington D.C., where they met with various lawmakers and other trade groups about SOPA and other legislation they think is important such as Net Neutrality and the ATT/T-Mobile merger. From the paragraph about their visit to the House of Representatives (I’ve highlighted the important stuff for emphasis):

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CEA Changes Course on Internet Sales Tax Collection

December 14, 2011 -

In the late 1990's and early 2000's a politician proposing an internet sales tax would have been ridden out on a rail. It used to be that lawmakers were scared of the subject. Now even retail associations - some of which represent huge internet companies - say they support the idea. One of those trade groups, the Consumer Electronics Association, has changed sides this week.

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Former Congressional Staffers Who Helped Write SOPA Join Lobbying Firms

December 12, 2011 -

Two former high level Washington staffers who helped write SOPA and Protect IP have joined major lobbying firms that... are helping to get the law they just wrote passed. Now their work addresses are "K Street," where all the lobbyists in Washington call home. Halataei recently joined the National Music Publishers’ Association, and Pastarnack is joining the Motion Pictures Association of America. These two lobbying groups have been pressing Congress to pass the proposals.

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Kaspersky Cancels BSA Membership after it Supports SOPA, Backtracks

December 6, 2011 -

Anti-virus and security software maker Kaspersky is not happy with the Business Software Alliance's early support of SOPA and Protect IP in the U.S. Even though the BSA later walked back its support of SOPA, the Russian firm has had enough. It announced that it plans to leave the BSA over its support for SOPA. Kaspersky has announced that on January 1st 2012 it will withdraw its membership of the BSA.

Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

December 1, 2011 -

If you want to know why your favorite senator or congressional representative is supporting Protect IP and SOPA, all you need to do is follow the money. First where is the money coming from? Big media, of course. The Sunlight Foundation does an excellent job of gathering all the info on this topic in one easy post.

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President Obama's Political Campaign Pick Riles Activist Groups

October 25, 2011 -

Environmental groups and open Internet activists are not happy with President Barack Obama's pick to lead his 2012 political campaign. That is probably because the president has picked a lobbyist that represented the NBC Universal / Comcast merger and the Keystone XL pipeline. The lobbyist in question is Broderick Johnson of the lobbying firm Bryan Cave LLP. According to U.S. House of Representatives records, Johnson lobbied our elected officials to “support submission of a presidential permit for Keystone XL pipeline” in the final quarter of 2010.

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NRF Has $10 Million Reasons For Politicians to Listen

September 21, 2011 -

The National Retail Foundation has launched a $10 million dollar advocacy campaign to push its national agenda onto the political scene for the rest of the year. The trade group representing traditional retailers says that it will spend some of that money on lobbyists to push a 13-point legislative agenda important to its memberships. Notable exceptions include corporate tax reform, fixing or repealing the employer health care mandates passed by President Obama, and enacting the "Main Street Fairness Act." The latter should be noted by consumers because it wants U.S.

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Former ESA Head Replaced as CEO at Private Equity Growth Capital Council

August 23, 2011 -

The Private Equity Growth Capital Council announced today that has replaced chief executive officer Douglas Lowenstein, with the group's current Vice President of Government Affairs Steve Judge. Judge will serve as interim CEO while the trade group hunts for a new head.

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Report: Netflix Aligning with Consumer Groups

March 30, 2011 -

According to a report in The Hill streaming video giant Netflix is lining up lobbyists to take on Washington to protect its interests. The company, who hired its first in-house lobbyist earlier this year, is aligning itself with internet reform groups. This makes sense, as net neutrality has the potential to protect the company's core business - steaming video - from usage fees that broadband companies might try to impose on them if given the chance.

Netflix is aligning itself with Free Press, the Media Access Project, Public Knowledge and Consumers Union, who all have a common interest in fighting overage fees on Internet users who access a high volume of data. You know, people that use streaming video like Netflix, Hulu, and other content online.

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Lobbying Machine in High Gear Despite Economy

August 5, 2010 -

As the economy trudges along and prices rise across the board for the working man, you’ll be pleased to note that the business of lobbying is apparently recession proof.

A report from Open Secrets reveals that special interest groups spent over $852 million across April, May and June of this year. Overall more than 11,100 groups hired over 10,500 lobbyists (outnumbering members of Congress by about 20 to 1 it was noted) during 2010’s second quarter.

Companies falling under the umbrella of finance, insurance or real estate spent $126 million lobbying over the three month period, a gain of 12 percent over the same period one year earlier. Commercial banking interests spent $15.5 million lobbying during the quarter, up 20 percent, while firms from the securities and investment sector dumped $27.6 million into lobbying efforts, a jump of 26 percent.

Lobbying efforts in 2010 are on track to outdo 2009 figures, which was a record year:

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Tech Lobbying Efforts Down But Not Out in Q2

July 21, 2010 -

While lobbying efforts from the tech sector took a slight dip from Q1 - $23 million from April - June of 2010, companies like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Cisco, Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, HP and Amazon still managed to spend $19 million to influence lawmakers in Q2. While those numbers were lower in Q2, they prove that this small sampling of tech companies is spending obscene amounts of cash to get lawmakers behind their various causes.

Comcast spent more than $3.8 million last quarter to drum up support for its proposed NBC merger and other issues. Verizon spent about $4.4 million to to influence lawmakers on an expanded research & development tax credit and the Universal Service Fund. Hewlett Packard spent $1.6 million in lobbying dollars to influence lawmakers on white spaces, patents and taxes. Microsoft spent a small undisclosed part of its $1.85 million lobbying warchest to get the discussion on cybersecurity started. Finally, Google spent $1.3 million in Washington on broadband, cloud computing and a host of other issues.

Source: Politico's Morning Tech


TIGA: Games Could Aid with UK Economic Recovery

June 14, 2010 -

As the hopes of tax incentives for UK game developers continue to tread water, industry group TIGA has stepped up its pressure, now stating that UK videogame makers could aid the economy by occupying a “valuable role” in an “export led recovery.”

TIGA recently commissioned a research report entitled “The UK Video Games Industry: An Export Success Story,” which it claimed showed that 91 percent of UK game developers export their products. That compares to figures cited from other research indicating that only one-third of small and medium sized, non-game producing businesses in the UK exported their products.

Richard Wilson, TIGA’s CEO, stated:

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ESA Spends $1.2 Million in Q1 Lobbying Efforts

June 4, 2010 -

The videogame industry lobby, the Entertainment Software Association, spent nearly $1.2 million USD during the first quarter of this year to lobby on a variety of issues including the regulation of video game content, First Amendment protection, copyright enforcement and other issues, according to an Associated Press story citing a recent disclosure report. The lobbying effort is up 23 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009, where the ESA spent $980,000.

From January - March of this year the ESA also lobbied on broadband deployment, green cards for skilled foreign workers and the H1-B visa program. The increased efforts probably have a lot to do with the Supreme Court's review later this year of California's Videogame law..

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CTIA: Net Neutrality Not Good for Anyone

May 17, 2010 -

The wireless industry's lobbyists are keen to influence policy makers in Washington on a number of key issues - most notably net neutrality. CTIA, which represents the country's biggest wireless carriers, is the organization flexing its muscle with the help of front man, former Oklahoma congressman and Hall of Fame NFL wide receiver, Steve Largent.

In an interview with C|Net, Steve Largent, along with Chris Guttman-McCabe, talked about how the members of its group feel about net neutrality. Of course, no one will be surprised on how they feel about: they think it's a bad idea. When asked why wireless be treated differently than any other kind of broadband service, Guttman-McCabe and Largent responded with the following:

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ESA Lobbying Funds Rise Nearly $1M from 2008 to 2009

March 24, 2010 -

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) spent $4.604 million on its lobbying efforts in 2009, a significant jump over 2008’s total of $3.654 million.

The group spent $1.208 million in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2009 and $980,000 in last year’s first quarter. 2008 saw $980,000 spent in quarters two, three and four, and $714,364.50 in its  first quarter.

Taking a look at a report (PDF) on the ESA’s fourth quarter expenditures for 2009 shows lobbying funds spent on issues such as the Constitution (First Amendment Protection, Ratings, Video Game Sale Regulation), Copyright/Patent/Trademark (Anti-Piracy, IP Enforcement), Trade (Free Trade Agreements, Special 301 Designated Countries, Trade Policy Reform), Computer Industry (Internet Governance, Virtual Worlds), Immigration (High-Skilled Workers, H1-B Visas and Green Cards) and Telecommunications (ISP Management, Copyright Enforcement, Broadband Deployment).

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U.S. Health Care Reform Subject of iPhone App

December 10, 2009 -

Want to learn more about U.S. health care reform in a simple program with a quiz-like interface? There’s an app for that.

People Operating Technology has launched the free iPhone & iPod Touch application Death Panel in the Apple Store. Promised to be “100% non-political,” the app’s quiz questions and facts are fed by data collected from the White House website, StateHealthFacts.org, the NCHC.org, and FactCheck.org.

Players take the role of an office holder who “must stand on a virtual platform and answer questions correctly about health care from an anxious public.” Twitter and Facebook integration lets users share their scores too.

People Operating Technology co-founder Jason Petralia stated, “Mobile technology provides a fascinating medium though which businesses and other organizations can gain mindshare. We made Death Panel to shed some light on a hot topic in a compelling way.”

Death Panel also contains a Geo-locational who’s who of congressional members, showing their home state, political affiliation and lobbyist funds received.

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Group Lobbies for French Retro Gaming Museum

September 23, 2009 -

An association comprised of fans of classic video games and systems is lobbying the French government to establish a retro video game museum.

The group, dubbed MO5, seeks a National Institute of Digital Sciences where visitors could not only view, but play, the vintage collectibles.

According to the BBC, MO5 currently posses 30,000 games and 1,500 different game systems. The group is reaching out to the French National Library, a Paris Science Museum and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French Minister of State in charge of developing the digital economy, in a bid to realize its museum dream.

The M05 website details the group's awesome collection of vintage machines and video game systems and titles.

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ESA Releases Annual Report

August 28, 2009 -

Video game publishers group ESA has released its annual report for the 2009 fiscal year, which concluded at the end of March.

As noted by Venture Beat,

The ESA fought 43 bills aimed at regulating content or controlling access to video games and none became law... Meanwhile, five states enacted tax incentives for the creation of game development jobs. Another 17 states are considering enacting the incentives.

The group said that it will be hard to get the attention of the federal government and Congress, which is preoccupied with issues such as climate change and healthcare. The ESA wants more done to stop piracy of games...

ESA Exerts Lobbying Influence on Many Issues in D.C.

August 20, 2009 -

The Associated Press reports that the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, spent $1.2 million on government lobbying efforts during the period April-June, 2009.

Looking beneath the surface, GamePolitics has obtained an actual copy of the ESA's latest federal lobbying report. The document shows that Big Gaming has its fingers in a surprising number of legislative and governmental pies. The following are issues which the ESA reports that it lobbied on in Q2:

  • Media regulation
  • First Amendment protection
  • Entertainment industry ratings
  • Parental control technology
  • Content/video game sale regulation
  • Retailer enforcement of ratings
  • Piracy
  • Copyright Act (believed to be the DMCA)
  • Anti-circumvention
  • Patent modernization
  • Intellectual property enforcement
  • Customs reauthorization
  • PRO-IP Act appropriations
  • Dept. of Justice appropriations
  • Dept. of State reauthorization
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Special 301 Designated Countries
  • Trade Policy Reform
  • Domestic regulatory & administrative issues
  • Trade enforcement
  • Doha Round Proceedings (trade talks)
  • Trade Promotion Authority
  • Internet Governance
  • Virtual worlds
  • Online gaming
  • Highly skilled workforce
  • H1-B visas
  • Green cards
  • Immigration reform
  • ISP management
  • Copyright Enforcement
  • Broadband deployment
  • Broadband policy
  • Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act implementation

Agencies lobbied by the ESA include some surprising entities. Here's the list:

  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Senate
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • National Telecommunications & Information Administration
  • U.S. Copyright Office
  • U.S. Customs & Border Protection
  • U.S. Trade Representative
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Justice
  • Patent & Trademark Office
  • FBI
  • National Security Council

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab your own copy of the ESA's lobbying report... (9-page PDF)

Video Game Industry's New Top Lobbyist Has Obama Campaign Experience

July 21, 2009 -

Here's hoping that Erik Huey lasts longer with the Entertainment Software Association than did his predecessor.

Huey was announced today as the new head of government relations for the video game publishers' trade group. In plain English, that means Huey is the ESA's chief lobbyist. The post has been vacant since Jennifer Manner departed just a month after coming aboard in February.

According to the ESA's press release, Huey is a veteran attorney who has specialized in lobbying for the entertainment, communications and media sectors. His official title will be Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. ESA boss Mike Gallagher offered praise for the new guy:

Erik’s demonstrated advocacy abilities on behalf of numerous entertainment and telecommunications clients will serve him well as he navigates the specific challenges and opportunities that the ESA and our member companies face. As game technologies and gamer demographics continue to evolve, the entertainment software industry will rely on Erik and his team to help foster a beneficial environment for our industry’s innovation and creativity.

Huey, who starts his new gig in August, also has substantial political experience on the Democratic side, according to the ESA's press release:

Huey helped coordinate voter protection and mobilization efforts in Western Pennsylvania for the Obama Campaign for Change during the 2008 primary and general elections. Huey had a similar role during the 2006 mid-term elections, and served as the Kerry/Edwards Campaign’s “Get Out the Vote” Director for Western Pennsylvania in 2004. Huey also served as an advance coordinator for the 1992 Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign...

As for Jennifer Manner, her story seems to have a happy ending as well. Coincidentally, we also learned today that she has accepted a post with the Federal Communications Commission.

9 comments

ELSPA Head Details New Strategy For Lobbying UK Government

July 13, 2009 -

Michael Rawlinson (left), who heads British game publishers group ELSPA, details his organization's new - and apparently successful - approach to dealing with the U.K.'s government bureaucracy in a guest column for MCVUK.

Despite some difficult recent years in which most of the political dialogue on video games in the U.K. involved criticism of game violence, the British game biz has scored some big wins of late. Most notable among these was the government's recent adoption of the PEGI content rating system favored by the industry.

At its core, ELSPA's strategy seems to involve working both harder and smarter. Rawlinson writes:

PEGI’s ascent to becoming the sole ratings system for games was a momentous achievement for the industry – and just goes to show how we can really get the Government’s attention when we get our approach right.

 

We’ve deliberately become more professional in terms of our dealings with Government. We’re strategically planning what we do – we don’t just bowl up to meetings, answer questions then leave.

We not only had to convince Government... we also took our arguments much wider, taking in the whole of Westminster, as well as the devolved parliament in Scotland and the regional assembly in Wales as well as the European parliament. Retailers, children’s charities and more were also covered. All of these groups had different needs we had to meet...

9 comments

ESA Canada Schmoozes Lawmakers with Games, Anti-Piracy Pitch

April 24, 2009 -

When the video game industry makes a lobbying push, it brings along the fun.

Canada.com reports that lawmakers played video games while ESA Canada execs pushed anti-piracy legislation this week at a lobbying event for members of Parliament in Ottowa.:

Conservative MP Mike Lake... took a break from playing the popular video game NHL 09 at the event, to talk about the ESAC's requests [for increased piracy protection].

Lake said the government plans to introduce a copyright bill, but wouldn't say exactly when. "It should happen in this Parliament," he offered.

The MP, whose Edmonton riding includes major game developer BioWare, said the bill is a "priority" for the government, adding the bill, if turned into law, wouldn't just benefit the gaming industry, but the music, movie and television industries also.

ESA Canada has been pushing hard in recent times for a north-of-the-border version of the USA's controversial Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Danielle Parr, executive director of ESA Canada, said:

At the federal level, the primary issue for us... is the protection of intellectual property... We really urge [Parliament] to [pass the legislation] as soon as possible... In Canada, [mod chips] are not illegal. They're illegal in virtually every other country.

14 comments

Quick Exit: ESA's Head Lobbyist Out After a Month

April 24, 2009 -

Earlier this year GamePolitics reported that the Entertainment Software Association hired Jennifer Manner (left) as its new head of government relations (i.e., lobbying).

Apparently, the ESA and Manner were not a good fit. The National Journal reports that the ESA's new head lobbyist is gone after just a month in her new position:

Manner, a long-time Democrat, didn't appear to have extensive Capitol Hill or administration experience. Her background included stints as a vice president of regulatory affairs at Skyterra Communications, chair of the Satellite Industry Association, and senior counsel to former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy. She has also... taught as an adjunct professor of law. ESA is not advertising any new job openings on its Web site.

An association spokesman confirmed that Manner had departed but gave no further information.

By our count, Manner is the third ESA VP to leave in the last 12 months. Others include former senior VP and general counsel Gail Markels and Ed Desmond, whose position was filled by Manner.

As we mentioned when Manner's hiring was announced, an ESA press release made it a point to refer to her as a "long-time Democrat." ESA CEO Mike Gallagher is a former Bush administration official.

Culture clash?

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Is King right? Should all games adopt the free-to-play model?:

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Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
 

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