Fixing the industry's image problem still a work in process
The Entertainment Software Association hasn't had any big, televised meetings with the Vice President lately. But the group that represents the game industry has still been working on ways to show the general public that there's more to video games than headshots and F-bombs.
ESA CEO Michael Gallagher said during a dinner with press, "We've had a very high-quality dialog with the House, the Senate and the White House about the entirety of what the game industry is, how it addresses things like [content] ratings, how it works with the Federal Trade Commission, how the Federal Trade Commission works with us.
"All of that has been very productive," he said. "But I think the things that have been most interesting to observe is the reach of the industry. Most recently we worked with the White House on a mental health announcement that they made last week.
"What they wanted to partner with us on was to destigmatize mental health as an issue, and where to get the treatment and resources."
It's one way that the game industry is trying to fix its image problem -- a lot of people still associate video games with shooting violence. So it's one of ESA's duties to remedy that. Gallagher and other game industry leaders sat down with Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year to talk about the effect video games have on youth.
Gallagher said leaders in Washington are seeing video games as a new venue for spreading meaningful messages.
Rich Taylor, senior VP at the ESA said, "It's telling that [the White House] turned to us not because we're part of the problem, but because we can help with a solution."
Gallagher said the group has been in close communication with House leaders, and instead of passing judgement and writing off video games as violent wastes of time, they've been receptive to working with the ESA on issues like game research and tax incentives.
"It's been an educational opportunity for the industry to be engaged in this [dialog]," he said. "I think you can see by the tone of it, the receptivity [of politicians]."
Gallagher noted how both Texas and Pennsylvania boosted incentives for the game industry in their most recent budgets. "They see the value of the industry, they understand these trade-offs and they want to see more of our jobs.
"That's where you see the real truth of where our industry is. Those [negative] allegations don't hold weight over time."