Playing Public Relations Games

Guys playing videogames"Sixty percent of US consumers polled agree that the government should regulate the sale of violent or mature video games," states a press release from the PR firm Hill & Knowlton (H&K). The video game industry's Entertainment Software Association (ESA) was not amused -- especially because H&K had "conducted the survey as a way to show how eager it was to get the association as a client." (ESA hired Powell Tate instead; H&K says it planned the poll before its pitch to ESA.) An ESA spokesperson called H&K's actions "unprofessional and unethical," adding that H&K's "release of only part of the findings paints an inaccurate picture of the entertainment software industry." Another question "is whether research done" to get new clients "tends to unfairly highlight negative aspects ... in hopes of underscoring the need for PR or public affairs services," according to PR Week. In related news, the PR firm Kohnke Communications is suing a software developer for "outstanding payments," reports Ars Technica. Kohnke's legal filings say the firm "convinc[ed video game] reviewers to write positive reviews," and that -- along with other "pre-launch successes" -- should get the firm "an incentive compensation payment of up to $280,000 after the launch of Gods & Heroes," the video game in question.