Smooth Gaming‘ is a new column to ValueWalk which will discuss various aspects of the video game industry. From AAA titles, business aspects, and independent developers who often go under-reported. ‘Smooth Gaming’ will take a multi-pronged look at the world of gaming. This week we discuss freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s weekend journey into gaming.
Gamers and the video game industry haven’t always had a ‘friendly’ relationship with politicians in the United States. The height of tension between the parties probably came in 2005 when then-Senator Hillary Clinton proposed the ‘Family Entertainment Protection Act‘ which attempted to ‘reign in’ sexuality and violence in video games. Clinton and politicians supporting the bill attempted to use children as a selling point, claiming it was easy for children to both purchase and play games clearly marketed towards adult audiences. Part of the bill summary follows:
Authorizes the FTC to conduct: (1) and publicize the results of an annual secret audit of businesses to determine how frequently minors who attempt to purchase video games with a Mature, Adults-Only, or Rating Pending rating are able to do so successfully; and (2) an investigation into embedded content in video games that can be accessed through a keystroke combination, pass-code, or other technological means to estimate certain data about video games with embedded content.
Expresses the sense of Congress that whenever the FTC determines that the content of a video game is inconsistent with the rating given to such game, it shall take appropriate action under its authority to regulate unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.
Oddly enough, Clinton did not propose legislation directed towards the movie or television industry, which frequently features sexuality and violence in a similar fashion.
Good times, right? Please note the sarcasm.
As Bob Dylan once sung, ‘The Times They Are A Changin.’
Pink News reported a surprise showing by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) during a Twitch fundraiser for transgender children’s charity Mermaids. “US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned up on a viral Twitch livestream of Donkey Kong 64 to talk about trans rights. UK-based YouTuber HBomberGuy (Harry Brewis) has raised more than $200,000 for transgender children’s charity Mermaids with a non-stop playthrough of the Nintendo 64 Donkey Kong game, beginning in the evening of January 18.”
“It’s important that we do talk about these issues in the economic frame, but not let go of the fact that discrimination is a core reason for economic hardship,” Ocasio-Cortez would add during the stream. While not to dive too deeply into politics, CNET makes an interesting point. “On a day where Aaron Sorkin encouraged newly elected Democrats to “stop acting like young people”, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a different plan: She jumped onto a Donkey Kong Twitch livestream and talked about how much she loved the Nintendo 64.”
If there is a good way to introduce more to her Social Democratic platform (no not Socialist or Democratic Socialist despite what you hear), speaking to gamers and being apart of a great cause is one way to do it. “We forecast that 2.3 billion gamers across the globe will spend $137.9 billion on games in 2018. This represents an increase of +13.3% from the year before, or $16.2 billion. Digital game revenues will take 91% of the global market with $125.3 billion,” Newzoo reported in April of 2018. “North America is the second-largest region, with estimated revenues of $32.7 billion in 2018, a year-on-year increase of +10.0%. Most of this growth will come from smartphone gaming and, to a lesser extent, console gaming,” the reporting continued.
As mentioned in an earlier ‘Smooth Gaming’ entry: Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Detroit: Become Human, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Grand Theft Auto V, Far Cry 5, Monster Hunter: World, God of War, Spider-Man, and Red Dead Redemption 2 were all massive hits in North America during the 2018 calendar year.
With gaming such an integral aspect of pop culture around the world and the United States, it only makes sense for a gamer like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to embrace it — especially when a fellow gamer is gaming for a good cause. It’s quite time for older politicians (and generations in general) to respect the gaming industry and understand the good that can be achieved by embracing gamers.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez understands that gaming isn’t going anywhere, others would be wise to follow her lead.