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Video game industry playing PAC-Man

Lisa Napoli Jan 15, 2008
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TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: And now news from a different part of the computer world. Everyone knows politicians play games. But gamers playing politics? The video game industry is worth $14 billion a year. And it’s looking for some clout. As Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli explains, there’s a new game of PAC-Man in Washington.


Commercial: A struggle has raged throughout history between those who fight to preserve liberty and those who intrude upon it.

LISA NAPOLLI: While someone you love has been staring into a screen, joystick in hand, the video-game industry has been mobilizing players with an online campaign.

Commercial: But now, now is the time to fight back, answer the call and defend our video games.

Now, the industry group known as the Entertainment Software Association is launching its own political action committee. It’s the group’s latest effort to make its presence known among lawmakers.

Michael Gallagher: The PAC is a symbol of maturity of the video game industry.

That’s Michael Gallagher, who heads up the Association.

Gallagher: It’s a very easy way for our industry to show its support for elected officials who share our values.

Meaning, says Gallagher, elected officials who don’t want to regulate the sale of games.

Hal Halpin of the Entertainment Consumers Association says there are a hundred pieces of legislation introduced each year that would affect the industry.

Hal Halpin: They usually seek to restrict violence or sex in games and treat it differently than music or movies or television.

Halpin says many politicians have misperceptions about the gaming industry, because they haven’t grown up with it and don’t play. Even as gamers start to get themselves elected, having a political presence behind the massive industry can’t hurt.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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