'Cancel your E3 plans', says SOPA activist Red 5

'Cancel your E3 plans', says SOPA activist Red 5

By Rob Crossley

January 19th 2012 at 10:29AM

Studio not prepared to support trade show while its organisers back tough piracy measures

The CEO of online games studio Red 5 is urging the industry to boycott the biggest games event of the year in protest over SOPA and the ESA.

Mark Kern said Red 5 will not be attending E3 this year, and will use money set aside for the trade show to instead launch an anti-SOPA lobbying group called The League For Gamers.

E3, which was attended by about 48,000 game enthusiasts and professionals last year, is operated by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA); a trade organisation that infamously announced its support for the controversial SOPA bill.

Kern now wants other developers to pull out from the event.

“To me, it's really disheartening that the industry and the ESA [is] definitely putting corporate needs well above that of gamers' First Amendment rights, and the First Amendment rights of the Internet in general,” he said in an interview with Ars Technica.

“The best way to get back at the ESA is to not support E3, you know? To encourage the game press not to attend, not to cover it. Encourage game developers not to attend,” he said.

“And yes, it will take sacrifice, but if we really want to have a voice, if you're as upset as I am with what's happening with corporate manipulation of interests in Washington, especially as in regards to our favourite pastime of gaming, this is what needs to be done. There isn't any other way to do it.”

Red 5’s focus is predominantly in online games as opposed to packaged goods. China’s The9 has a majority stake in the company.

Kern said Red 5 will spend about $50,000 – set aside for E3 costs – to fund The League For Gamers. The organisation is "a gathering place for gamers, developers and industry supporters who want to stand against legislation that's detrimental to the games industry," he said.

E3 2012 runs from June 5th in Los Angeles.