Gaming industry applauds Obama's broadband push

Obama's promise to strengthen the nation's broadband infrastructure is getting a boost from an unlikely quarter: The Entertainment Software Association.

The trade group, which represents the video gaming industry, to the president's transition team praising the US$6 billion-plus earmarked for broadband development in the economic stimulus package as a "good start". The paper also encourages the new administration to support video gaming by smoothing the way for wireless gaming and cracking down on piracy.

ESA head Michael Gallagher, the former assistant secretary of commerce under President George W. Bush, called broadband the "connective tissue" the gaming industry needs to survive. The paper also sought to remind the president that the relationship is symbiotic: Online gaming and opportunities to download games in turn help drive the demand for broadband.

According to , the ESA spent almost $4 million on lobbying last year. The gaming industry can afford it: While many other sectors of the economy are hurting, the video gaming industry saw record 2008 revenues to the tune of $22 billion.