Again, I'm willing to concede that 20 years from now we likely won't be dealing with First Amendment arguments about interactive entertainment, but that fact has little to do with the age of politicians. The quote is a bastardization of a sound bite that a former mentor and colleague of mine, Doug Lowenstein - the former head of the ESA - would provide during interviews. It wasn't meant to be a stand-alone statement, or even a position to give us comfort, but rather one of many facts that, in totality, make up an eventuality. That's all. In the mean time, we're stuck in the trenches fighting misperceptions, negative stereotypes and ill-conceived legislation. To my mind, you can do one of two things: Get involved (IGDA and ECA come to mind) or shut up. Both organizations are quite easy to join. To put it another way, "You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result."

"The anonymity of the web and online gaming in general empowers hate-mongers, bigots and delinquents."
In my experience, web and online gaming are nothing more than a reflection of people's personalities, just out of context. As video becomes more pervasive in these environments, folks will be less likely to hide behind a username and avatar. One way to combat bad behavior in the short term is social isolation. No one likes being ostracized.

The other effective tactic, which is notably more lofty and worthy, would be to set the example yourself: Use your (gasp) real name. Many of the readers of this publication are, without stroking the audience too much, the people that the gamer masses look up to. You're the hardcore gamers, the rock star developers, the prestigious publishers, the people that make it all ... well, cool. If you exemplify the behavior you wish to see, they'll emulate you. It's human nature. Timeline for more maturity in online gaming: five years.


"Gamers in the future will be even more hardcore and willing to wear the label."
I'm calling B.S. on this one. Few players today are willing to label themselves as "gamers." As we ingrain gaming - as a respectable third of the broader entertainment sector - into the cultural consciousness, we'll continue to see an erosion in the percentage of folks who even see playing games as any more unusual or noteworthy than listening to music or watching movies. How many people do you know who would label themselves "audiophiles" because they enjoy music? I'd argue that the more successful we are, broadly, the more the term "gamer" will disappear from the lexicon. Perhaps as soon as the next one to two cycles, consumers will be buying, renting and downloading games no differently than they consume any other media. Some folks will absolutely remain ardent fans in much the same way that fans of music pay for whole albums, attend concerts and wear their favorite bands' T-shirts. Gamer culture isn't going anywhere. It's just becoming a part of the collective unconscious - and that's a good thing.

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