March 12th, 2006

EDITORIAL: Geoghegan's 12 Steps: Right Message, Wrong Messenger

John Geoghegan (left) is a man who can smell the coffee. Before it's too late, someone please wake up the sleeping giant that is the ESA and let's hope it can do the same.

If you follow the gaming scene closely, by now you've read about Geoghegan's thoughtful 12-Step Program to revive the cultural cred of the video game business. Geoghegan, executive director of the SILOE Research Institute and former LucasArts VP, delivered his message this week at the Game Marketing Conference. Geoghehan's plan was a good one. There's only one problem - he shouldn't have to be the one to say it. But in today's industry leadership vacuum, perhaps he felt he had no choice.

Geoghegan is on the money when he surveys the current video game business landscape and pronounces it "a very hostile environment... We're not making friends. I haven't seen this much animosity since big tobacco told congress that cigarettes are not addictive... At the state and federal level, we're in trouble... This is the perfect storm of circumstances, and we're sailing right into it... The best defense is a strong offense. "

Charitably, Geoghegan gave the ESA a pass, saying the trade group is part of the solution, not part of the problem. He's only partly right. The video game industry (read: the ESA) needs to lace up its gloves and come out swinging. It needs to do more than lobby in statehouses and the halls of Congress. After all, the back-channel approach isn't working so well, is it? Lawyers and lobbyists have never won a culture war.
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