New ESA CEO And President Aims To Turn Crisis Into Opportunity

Published: May 14, 2019 12:56 PM /


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The ESA has announced its new CEO and President, Stanley Pierre-Louis as announced by the organization in a discussion with GamesIndustry.Biz. The former ESA CEO and President Michael Gallagher stepped down from his role last October, and Pierre-Louis has been Acting CEO and President since then. Yesterday he spoke to to announce and discuss his appointment, as well as many topics on what the organization is facing as the games industry faces many challenges. However, as CEOs are wont to do, Pierre-Louis sees the crisis as an opportunity, as his opening statement shows.

What we're excited about here at the ESA is being able to shine a light on this great moment for the video game industry. We are the benchmark in American culture and the American economy when it talks about job creation, innovation, creative expression, audience engagement, and consumer protection. And we have an opportunity to tell more of our story so others understand the impact we have on American culture, and it's a very positive one. proceeded to ask him about the Variety article published last week, which we reported on. The article claimed the organization was in severe disarray, becoming a "toxic environment rife with internal politics, witch hunts and in-fighting." Pierre-Louis' statement reframes these views as passionate industry professionals who focus on the challenges in order to surmount them.
We are an organization that looks forward and thinks about how we best benefit industry. What I see here are people excited about working for our industry, who are focused on the challenges ahead and can meet that challenge through their great skill and expertise in what they do.
Among these challenges, as we already reported, is the loot box controversy, the WHO classification of gaming disorder, a new approach for E3, and the discussion of crunch culture that has been happening for the past year or so. Most of Pierre-Louis' statements on these challenges and issues are conciliatory, well-informed, and firmly set in a moderate middle ground.

He claims, for instance, that the games industry "understands its responsibility to consumers and takes it seriously" when it comes to the loot box controversy. He also claims that the WHO classification "does not imply that gaming disorder exists, and you'll note they veered clear of the word addiction, which is a word that has a very specific medical term." However, his take on the issue of crunch culture seems somewhat defensive.

Our members strive to have the best workplaces possible to create the best work possible, and that's what you see in the products they release, the ecosystems they build, and the devices they make. The specifics of our member companies and their employees really rests with them. But what we know of our industry and our member companies is that they are very focused on creating dynamic workplaces so their teams can produce a high quality of work.
His final statement is quite optimistic, noting how pervasive video games have become, highlighting the emergence of "serious games" in particular.
It's interesting that video game technology is being used from everything from the games we love to play to healthcare, to education, and even space travel. We're seeing astronauts are using augmented reality technology to get ready for trips to the space station. We're seeing healthcare providers are using video game technology to help detect dementia, to help with Alzheimer's, or to teach kids about cancer they may be going through. We're seeing it used in education in games like Minecraft Education to teach kids about STEM-related topics... Video games play a role in our lives in massive ways, in positive ways, and our biggest opportunity is to tell that story.
What do you think of Pierre-Louis' statements? Is the organization headed in a better direction than before, or are the challenges too threatening? Let us know in the comments below!

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Richard Costa
| Staff Writer

Hack for hire, indentured egghead, maverick thoughtcriminal. Mainly interested in Western RPGs, first-person immersion, turn-based tactics, point-and-… More about Richard