The Entertainment Software Association, representing the interests of of U.S. video game publishers, launched an updated website for its Video Games Voters Network in order to “increase the recruitment, education, and mobilization of video game players across the country.” The press release (via gamepolitics.com) explains:
The response to the VGVN is overwhelming and dramatic―over 100,000 members, generating thousands upon thousands of letters defending video games. It’s impressive. Ordinary Americans’ passion for computer and video games is driving a desire to be counted and speak out. They are a political force that not only votes, but actively makes their voices heard in Washington, DC and in state legislatures across the country.Politicians who think easy political points can be scored at the First Amendment’s expense have to know that such efforts will be aggressively opposed. VGVN and the ESA would rather work in a collaborative and productive partnership to educate caregivers about how to ensure the games their children enjoy are parent-approved.
While the whole approach is an applaudable effort there are some issues though.While I don't necessarily see the interests of publishers and consumers as mutually exclusive (coming from a country with a ridiculous gaming legislature and all) I'm inclined to agree with gamepolitic's view on the missing personal component. This could have been achieved by, you guessed it, an additional blog. Not only could it have been used to give updates on recent successes of the campaign to encourage more user involvement, but also to facilitate closer connections and to humanize the whole undertaking.
Furthermore what is missing is a regularly updated overview of lawmakers and their stand on videogame related issues so you know what your representative is up to.
Also the whole approach of giving users the possibility to send already formulated emails is debatable. Not only does it add it to the impersonal nature of the campaign but the emails might simply be seen as spam. As the Australian Federal Minister for the Environment, Malcom Turnbull explained in connection with Get Up! which uses the same method: "When you get 1000 emails, all in exactly the same form, it's not exactly as persuasive as a bunch of emails people have written to independently express themselves." On the other hand: This procedure also allows people who don't have the time to research all the right contacts to eloquently express their genuine concern.
What I really asked myself though was: When is there going to be a German version?