Outgoing ESA president Doug Lowenstein took some parting shots at the industry during his farewell speech at the D.I.C.E. summit this year. Our friends at Gamasutra asked its game developer readers, "Is Lowenstein Right?"
The ESA, or Entertainment Software Association, has come under fire recently. E3, its annual trade show, has been scaled down, some say canceled, due to spiraling exhibitor costs. Gamers pal and soon to be disbarred cuckoo, Jack Thompson, has called Lowenstein and the ESA, "hired thugs" and peddlers of filth and violence.
Lowenstein's three main criticisms.
"Not only is Doug Lowenstein right, he's damn right. His impassioned speech said so many things that needed to be said about the state of the industry and I agree with him 100%."
Is this just sour grapes? Or is there a lack of integrity and commitment on the part of the people and companies that make and publish games? Do you even care what the ESA and ESRB does? I for one decided to join VGVN after reading the speech. I mean we get PO'd when our elected ding dongs make silly legislation. Might as well put our money where our mouth is.
Personally, I don't care at all about the ESRB's ratings (or any other "professional" rating group). I can tell pretty easily what a game is like from really quickly researching it. I don't even really notice the rating, let alone read it. And, when I have kids, I'll decide what I think is suitable based on *trying* the games out first and/or researching them before buying them. I'm not going to take the word of the ESRB on whether or not a game is suitable.
I think the ESRB and similar groups have attempted to do the same thing that is done with movies, but they fall short. Movie ratings tend to be right on most of the time. Game ratings tend to be off target almost as much as they are on target.
That's because it was up to the publishers to disclose the "hot" areas of the game and the ESRB didn't play through the games at all, this is why it is "off". Now to counter-act this the ESRB is actually recruiting full-time raters to play through the games to give a more accurate rating of the games. So if you live in the New York area and want to get paid for playing games here's your chance. I think they are looking more for the mature audience and people that have kids or around kids a lot.