Stop the presses!
GamePolitics took some heat recently when we named California Assembly Speaker pro tem Leland Yee our 2005 Person of the Year. But GameDaily Biz has really gone out on a limb. The influential online news journal has been running a countdown all week of Game Industry Persons of the Year. In this morning's edition they reached #1 and named Jack Thompson and Rockstar CEO Paul Eibeler as co-recipients.
From five on down, previous selections named this week by GameDaily Biz have included #5, David Jaffe, designer of God of War; #4, a tie between Microsoft's Peter Moore and Sony's Ken Kutaragi; #3, Epic co-founder Mark Rein; #2, Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata.
In naming Thompson and Eibeler - and wouldn't it be great to get these two together for an awards ceremony - GDB isn't endorsing the actions of either. Far from it, in fact. The report is extremely critical of Eibeler:
"Instead of admitting that (Rockstar) left the (Hot Coffee) content hidden on the disc, the company attempted to blame the mod community... Take-Two had essentially lied to everyone, misled the ESRB.. and undermined its integrity, and put the video game industry firmly in the crosshairs for the mainstream media and politicians nationwide... Furthermore, Take-Two's CEO was named Worst CEO of 2005 by a MarketWatch columnist. Bravo, Mr. Eibeler."
Strong stuff. But Thompson fares no better.
"It seemed as if the antagonistic Miami lawyer grabbed headlines every week, whether it was "Hot Coffee," EA's The Sims 2, Rockstar's Bully, his feud with game comic mainstay Penny Arcade, or anything else video game related. The sad part is that people in the mainstream were taking his words seriously, and that further fed his big fat ego."
"And admittedly, by recognizing Thompson in this article, we're helping to feed his ego (which we hope not to do anymore in the future), but as 2005 went on it appeared as if his dive into obscurity had already begun. Thompson's combative nature (funny that he should call people in the game community "pixelantes") and constant threats/attacks finally caught up with him as people who would normally be on his side distanced themselves..."
"But for all Jack's attempts to demonize gamers and the industry, it's our belief that his efforts had the opposite effect. It seems as if the video game industry has pulled together in defense of his tirades and is now better for it. You know, "Whatever doesn't kill us, makes us stronger." So thank you, Jack."