October 4, 2010

A message from the ESA

Thanks to a great friend of mine, I was forwarded the following message from the ESA...

The Entertainment Software Association
October 4, 2010
Dear Friends,
In the past few weeks, we witnessed a unique series of events that reflected
the significance of the entertainment software industry. These include: an
outpouring of support from the political, scientific, business and legal
communities in defense of the constitutional rights of video games; a White
House ceremony at which President Barack Obama launched a national
competition to create a video game promoting math and science learning; and
a cover story in the Sunday New York Times Magazine about the importance
of games in education.  All of these occurrences represented more visible
proof of the positive impact our remarkable industry is having on society.
On November 2, our legal team will be before the United States Supreme Court,
defending the First Amendment rights of our industry's innovators, creative
artists, and storytellers. I am extremely proud of the respondents' brief we filed
with the high court, which clearly detailed why the California statute is unnecessary, unwarranted and unconstitutional. No less important, on September 17, a
bipartisan group of state attorneys general were among more than 180 First
Amendment scholars, social scientists and organizations representing entertainment
media, business and journalism that filed amicus briefs in support of our position.
Groups as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Cato Institute and
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined entertainment media companies and
others in opposing the California law as an unconstitutional infringement on our
right of free speech. The video game community also continues to show its
support through the Video Game Voters Network which now has more than
250,000 activists who believe in the First Amendment and are fighting with us
to protect it. To read the amicus briefs and other materials related to the
upcoming case, please visit our Supreme Court microsite.
By ensuring that computer and video games receive the free speech
protection they are entitled to, our industry can focus on creating innovative
products that are a source of entertainment and learning. This powerful
combination was highlighted on September 16 when President Obama
launched the National STEM Video Game Challenge at a White House
event as part of his national "Educate to Innovate" campaign. The Challenge,
which ESA co-sponsored, aims to motivate interest in science, technology,
engineering and math (STEM) learning by tapping into students' natural
passion for playing and making video games. 
Research has demonstrated that playing and making games fosters the
development of the critical thinking, design and problem-solving skills needed
to succeed in STEM subjects and motivate students to pursue careers in
these fields. The competition -- supported by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center
at Sesame Workshop, Microsoft Corporation, American Library Association,
The International Game Developers Association and other organizations --
will feature prizes for middle school students who design an original video
game, as well as prizes for emerging and experienced developers who design
mobile games that teach STEM concepts to young children.
The growing use of entertainment software as an educational tool was also
highlighted in the September 19 edition of the Sunday New York Times 
Magazine article Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom. The
piece profiled Quest to Learn, a New York City public school that has
incorporated computer and video games into virtually every aspect of their
curriculum in an effort to "support the digital lives of young people and their
capacity for learning." The fact that the influence of games in education
will continue to grow was underscored by neuroscientist Paul Howard-Jones
who told the Times that 30 years from now "we will marvel that we ever tried
to deliver a curriculum without gaming."
To respond to the expanding role that computer and video games are playing
in education and other aspects of daily life, an increasing number of institutes
of higher education are offering degrees in video game design, development,
programming and art. Our own research has shown a record 300 American
colleges, universities, art and trade schools will offer these types of programs
during the 2010-11 academic year, an almost 20 percent increase over
I know in the weeks, months and years to come we will see even more
recognition of the many positive ways computer and video games are
impacting the American economy and society. As our Supreme Court case
demonstrates, we face challenges today. As our industry's history proves,
there is no limit to what our creativity can achieve tomorrow.  
Michael D. Gallagher
Michael D. Gallagher
President and CEO
Entertainment Software Association

More information on this case can be found here. Go crazy!

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