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The Political Game: Take Two and the golden parachute


Each week Dennis McCauley contributes The Political Game, a column on the collision of politics and video games:

News Item: Fired Take Two CEO Paul Eibeler exits with a golden parachute ...

Damn, damn, double damn.

In a flash of devastating comprehension it dawns on me that I've got this "road to success" thing completely wrong. All these years I thought working hard, doing the right thing and making my boss look good would help me climb the ladder - and maybe make a few bucks along the way.

But the verdict out of Manhattan last week is clear. That's not the way to do it. If you want to tuck a check for a cool $2.5 mil into the pocket of your Armani jacket, if you'd like an $800 monthly car allowance and free health care, here's the game plan:

First, preside over a company that allows its flagship video game to be drawn into the biggest scandal your industry has ever seen. Then, when it hits the fan, shift the blame to your loyal customers, the ones who made your game a winner and spent enough bucks on it to put your ass into a limo.

When your industry's trade association is on the ropes trying to defend the scandal against criticism from the media, Congress and assorted watchdogs, don't say anything, don't do anything. People will think you are ultra-hip and above it all. Or maybe they will think you are an incompetent who is in over his head and has no clue how to manage a crisis. But whatever, you're still getting paid.

For spice, preside over a poisonous management environment that leaves the head of your audit committee thinking she has no other option but to resign, move to Florida and retain a high-priced white collar defense attorney. Crave recognition? Get yourself named "Worst CEO of 2005."

Need to be entertained? Sit back and enjoy the show as investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office probe your company and then probe it again. It's as much fun as watching Law & Order re-runs, only in real life!

So, anyway, note to management: I'd like my golden parachute, too, please. Go ahead and fire me. And can you do it by Friday? My car payment is due. By the way, what's included in my severance package? An autographed picture of Jack Thompson?

Never mind.

Dennis McCauley is the Political Editor for the Entertainment Consumers Association (, tracks the political side of video games at and writes about games for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Opinions expressed in The Political Game are his own. Reach him at

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