Red 5 CEO forms anti-SOPA pressure group

Mark Kern, CEO of Firefall developer Red 5 Studios, has formed a gamer-focused pressure group, League For Gamers, in response to the Entertainment Software Association's backing of SOPA and PIPA.

Speaking to VentureBeat, Kern criticised the ESA, which represents over 30 of the biggest US videogame companies and staunchly backed, and lobbied in support, of SOPA despite widespread opposition to the controversial anti-piracy bill.

Kern said the ESA was "too focused on the large publisher, boxed retail product motif – part of their support for PIPA and SOPA stems from this. When are we going to learn from what happened to the music industry, and find new ways and new business models that offer consumers better alternatives to piracy?

"Rather than preserve a dying model in the face of digital distribution, free-to-play and cloud-based gaming, we should embrace the change and shift our focus to these new models."

Kern has had discussions with the ESA, but said it made it abundantly clear that it was "blind to any potential abuse and feels it and the courts will be fair arbiters of this extensive power. I also pointed out that many developers oppose SOPA and PIPA, and [big] companies have all quietly dropped SOPA support … so who the heck is the ESA representing at this point?"

It's heartening stuff, and as we said in an opinion piece yesterday, the ESA's handling of SOPA has been dismal. Kern's first order of business is to call for a boycott of the ESA-organised E3 in June, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume his vision of an "NRA for gamers" was relayed with tongue firmly in cheek, and that he doesn't really seek to emulate one of the most controversial and one-eyed civil rights organisations in the world.