We all know that the ESA supports SOPA. This is absolutely horrid. What makes this even more horrid is that the ESA just last year asked for the help of gamers in their fight to stop violent video game legislation. They did this by creating a gamer advocacy group called the Videogame Voters Network. While the ESA and gamers were united in that battle, the ESA has decided to leave those gamers who joined the organization out in the cold on SOPA. These two interconnected events have left a lot of developers and a lot of gamers fuming. You can see an example of this on the VGVN’s Facebook page (look but don’t like).
But something else happened. Something that has the potential to shake the ESA to its very core. This something started with a game company called Red5 Studios and Extra Credits. Yesterday during the anti-SOPA protests, Extra Credits aired a video asking gamers, the gaming press and game development companies to all boycott the ESA and E3 until the ESA drops its support of SOPA. This is a really great message and one that I think every one should live by. When a business or organization is actively out to harm you like the ESA is with SOPA, why should we give them support? This is a question that Red5 asked itself and it is doing something about it.
Earlier this week, Red5 decided to found a new organization, one that brings both gamers and game developers to the same table to fight together for freedom and the internet. This new organization is called the League For Gamers. In its opening statement LFG said:
League For Gamers was founded by Red 5 Studios and Mark Kern, CEO of Red 5 Studios, who serves as LFG’s President. League For Gamers (LFG) was created on January 14, 2012 in order to give gamers, as well as developers, a voice in Washington and an organization that would serve and foster the interest and e-sport of video gamers and our favorite pastime as played on PC/Mac, mobile and console platforms.
I think this type of organization has been long overdue. While we have organizations that separately defend game developers, publishers, retailers and gamers, we have never seen any combination of those interests. This is certainly an experiment I can get behind. When we have gamers and game developers sitting at the same table discussing the issues, we can get mutually beneficial results. While I myself am a member of the Entertainment Consumers Association and still very much support their work and efforts, I think the VFG will be a great ally in the fight against legislation like SOPA and PIPA.
I can’t wait to see what this organization gets up to and who decides to join. Let’s hope it gains the power to influence policy debates to benefit both gamers and game developers.