Back in Business

Finally, business is starting to return to normal (busy) around here.

In the last couple of weeks, lots of things have been happening at SophSoft. The fruits of all of our efforts in the recent past will be revealed in time. Unfortunately, there is precious little that I can write about publicly yet, so here is a quick summary of recent events of interest.

Last Sunday, there was a chapter meeting of the Southern Michigan IGDA. This was a fairly busy meeting, including a presentation by Eric Arnold of Volition on the development of the multi-platform retail game, The Punisher, and a discussion and demonstration by Scott Brodie and Brandon Furtwangler of their IGF winner, Ballistic, which can be downloaded from the game website.

The meeting was at (nearby) Michigan State University this time, and one MSU student who probably should have been there was Lindsey Poisson. She wrote an insightful opinion piece about video games in The State News, the article having appeared in the previous Friday [April 7] edition of the paper.

This editorial follows on the (real) news that a federal judge has ruled that the new Michigan law restricting sales of video games to minors is unconstitutional and handed down a permanent injunction. You can read about the story on CNet and Gamasutra. Of course, our Governor is making noises about wasting more taxpayer money by challenging this ruling.

In response to the onslaught of attacks from state and federal legislators, the Video Game Voters Network was launched in March. Even though every piece of similar legislation so far has been ruled unconstitutional, it is unlikely that politicians will quit pandering (like prostitutes) to noisy fringe groups, stop the attacks on our industry, and start to focus on important issues, until we make ourselves heard. Speak up.

Of course, in addition to the political battles, there is also the legal front, and the Entertainment Software Association, among others, has done much to defend video games in court. Now, the ESA is suing the State of Illinois to recover legal costs in fighting the anti-game legislation that has since, unsurprisingly, been ruled unconstitutional as well. As I understand it, the basis for the lawsuit is, essentially, that Governor Blagojevich and others knew and accepted the ultimate outcome, but proceeded with the political exercise anyway. The Michigan Senate hearings that I attended included discussion of “skirting” the First Amendment here, so another suit would not surprise me.

Alas, it is difficult to keep track of the news about states jumping on the anti-game bandwagon (Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, Utah, Iowa, Indiana, to my recollection), so it is important to note that Georgia is offering tax incentives for video game development, following the lead of Louisiana, which created a successful program to attract game developers to that state.

Tomorrow, we will recognize an unusual game anniversary.

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