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Ex-Senate counsel Christianna Barnhart joins ESA as government affairs SVP

Going forward, Barnhart will lead the ESA's efforts to advocate on regulatory matters for the video game industry on the federal and state legislative level.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

September 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Logo for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
Image taken from the ESA website.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has brought on Christianna Barnhart as its senior vice president of governmental affairs. Per the press release, she'll be "responsible for driving the trade association’s advocacy efforts on federal and state legislative and regulatory matters that are vital to the industry."

Barnhart previously worked on the commerce and science-related committee for the US Senate and is said to have 15 years of experience with technology policy. As then-senior counsel for the Senate, she focused on issues such as media policy, content moderation, and artificial intelligence. 

In a statement, ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis wrote that Barnhart "will add depth and strength to the ESA team" with her previous experience in the regulation and legislative fields. 

"For the past several decades, the interactive entertainment industry has been at the forefront of technological innovation, and Christi’s experience will be invaluable to demonstrating the impact and potential of this dynamic industry to policymakers and regulators."

Regarding regulation, the US government has indicated it would like to be more involved with the game industry to some extent. In March, for example, congress members were said to be looking into Sony's business practices regarding its sales success in Japan versus Microsoft's lack thereof with its Xbox consoles.

To those congresspeople (such as US Trade Representative Katherine Tai), Sony has been isolating hit Japanese games for its PlayStation console. At the time, PlayStation-exclusive titles like Final Fantasy XVI and Final Fantasy VII Remake were cited as evidence of this claim. 

Towards the end of 2022, Democratic senators sent letters to studios such as Sony and EA to address the rise of extremism within their online games. Back then, Massachusetts senator Lori Trahan noted that while studios weren't obligated to respond to Congress' letter, the government would be paying more attention to the industry's actions in the future.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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