Michael Gallagher, new head of the Entertainment Software Association spoke to [/i]The New York Times[/i] this week about his roles and responsibilities in a political environment where more state and federal authorities are seeking greater government regulation of videogames.
The 43-year-old has no experience selling or reviewing games, but is an avid gamer, and highlighted the importance of the hobby as a mainstream force.
“The average videogame player is 33 years old and has been playing for an average of 12 years,” Mr. Gallagher said. “It is not something you do as a phase in your childhood and leave it behind. Now it’s a part of your entertainment culture.”
A former Verizon lobbyist and Republican staffer, Gallagher spoke of a disconnect between gaming’s emerging popularity and the perception and experience of many government officials.
“I think there is a bit of a generation gap, federally, given that a number of the legislators – especially since Congress operates on the seniority system – are older. Videogames came very late in their content-consuming careers, and so they’re not as familiar with the intense innovation, competition and excitement that come from videogames.”
The ESA’s budget is $20 million, paling in comparison with other media lobbies. But it has so far effectively blocked legislation proposing regulation of videogames in nine states.
One of its key goals, Gallagher said, is to wield some financial influence in election campaigns.
“Contributing on the federal level is a very important part of our success going forward,” he said.