Stanley Pierre-Louis has been the CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, the game industry’s lobbying group and the creator of the big E3 trade show, for almost a year. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty eventful year with the ongoing pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of this year’s E3.
At our digital GamesBeat Summit 2020 event, Stanley Pierre-Louis discussed the impact of today’s events on the gaming industry during a fireside chat with Sugar Gamers‘ Keisha Howard. And while times have been hard, the situation could change how many people perceive gaming.
Pierre-Louis noted that many people unfamiliar with gaming are becoming exposed to the medium through TV, as sports like NASCAR are using games to simulate events. And many of these people are coming away impressed with the fidelity of modern gaming. Social distancing has also given more people a better idea of the positive powers of gaming.
“People look to video games for a number of things,” Pierre-Louis said. “When we talk to parents about their kids playing video games, one of the things they realize is videos games are, yes, about the fun and entertainment, but they also sometimes are a digital playground where kids are playing together and connecting on games like Fortnite.”
Gaming for good
Gaming is helping people maintain connections that could be difficult to hold onto during a difficult time like this, and it can happen while we’re being entertained. And, important, people playing games with friends online are staying safely quarantined.
“I’m excited about seeing that video games are playing such a positive role in helping flatten the curve,” Pierre-Louis said.
But games are helping beyond that. Pierre-Louis noted an example about a classroom in Quebec studying Ancient Egypt. The teacher used Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which includes a museum mode full of facts about the period. Ubisoft let the class use the game royalty free.
We’ve also seen gaming be a force of charitable good, with organizations like Games Done Quick creating events to raise funds for coronavirus relief. Bungie also hosted a fundraiser for local first-responders that raised over $350,000 in its first 24 hours, which Pierre-Louis says shows that both the game makers and fans have good hearts.
Pierre-Louis notes that this experience is making many more people think about the power of games, and they could look for ways to be a part of the industry. Gaming has a need for a vast amount of talents, like coding, art, and more. Pierre-Louis also said that girls who play games are three times more likely to want to get a STEM degree. They could then use those skills to enter the industry or other related fields.
He also believes that the general public will have a very different opinion of gaming than they did before the pandemic. They can see how it helps people connect, learn, and socialize. The stereotype of gaming as anti-social activity could be less prevalent.
But speaking of the future, what about E3? What will the show look like when it comes back next year? Pierre-Louis says that it will be important for the show to have a bigger digital presence while creating a more dynamic floor experience for those attending in person.