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What's in the name "video game"

Kyle Orland

Stephen Totilo's recent hour-long interview with Sony Computer Entertainment Studio Head Phil Harrison focused mainly on the past, present and future of the PlayStation systems and brand. But possibly the most interesting quote in the whole piece came at a point where Harrison waxed philosophical about the branding of the industry as a whole.

"I fervently believe that the biggest challenge we face is that our industry is referred to as 'video games,'" Harrison told Totilo, echoing concerns aired last month by former ESA head Doug Lowenstein about the image of the term. With two industry luminaries bringing up the same issue in such a short time, we had to wonder: Is our industry being held back by its name?

It's true that the word "game" in video game automatically makes some people think that our industry is devoted to nothing more than child's play, a claim that is pretty demonstrably false. Still, terms like "interactive entertainment" and "entertainment software" always struck us as a little too clunky and snobby-sounding for everyday use. Then again, terms like "graphic novel" and "cinema" probably sounded a little clunky before they came into common usage to describe the serious side of comics and movies, respectively.

So we put the question to you, dear readers. Do video games need to be re-branded to erase their childish image? If so, what new term would you use to describe the industry?

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