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Feature: 'Question Of The Week: Is Lowenstein Right?'

The "Question Of The Week" feature, a specific industry-related question to be answered by professional game developers reading this site, this time asked whether Doug Lowenstein's incendi
The "Question Of The Week" feature, a specific industry-related question to be answered by professional game developers reading this site, this time asked whether Doug Lowenstein's incendiary comments about the game biz at D.I.C.E. were on target. Specifically, in his final speech as President of trade body the Entertainment Software Association, Lowenstein suggested that developers who make controversial game content often refuse to stand behind their games in public: "The publishers and developers who make controversial content and then cut and run when it comes time to defending their creative decisions... Nothing annoys me more. If you want the right to make what you want, if you want to push the envelope, I’m out there defending your right to do it. But, dammit, get out there and support the creative decisions you make." Thus, we asked: "Is Doug Lowenstein fair in his farewell speech comments that game professionals are failing to stand up for their freedom? If he is, what should we each be doing to ensure that censorship is not an issue in the game industry?" A large amount of replies from notable industry professionals are the result, reflecting a wide variety of ideas and issues, such at this response from Verse Studios' Marcus Riedner: "He is bang on. If members of the industry are unwilling to 'join up' on something as simple as the VGVN then how is the industry to fight any meaningful sort of battles? If producers are going to release increasingly controversial content and back down or run and hide from the fall out, how is anyone going to take the industry seriously? The video game industry is constantly being dogged as a children's arena, full of childish people. A big step to changing that image is to get up and actively participate in a meaningful manner. Frankly, censorship is always going to be an issue. It is an issue in Hollywood, it is an issue in print media, it is an issue in music. It is a constant grinding battle to combat censorship and the only way to effectively fight that battle is en masse. A wise move would be to make connections with other industries that deal with censorship issues, and form lasting partnerships with them. There are lots of solutions, but not a single one will be successful without the backing of the community as a larger whole." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including many more fascinating replies (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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