Strauss Zelnick, chairman of Take-Two Interactive and John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, might not be able to get together on a merger, but they seem to agree on at least one thing: Barack Obama.
Both game biz execs have contributed to Obama's presidential campaign.
In fact, in research conducted by GamePolitics of publicly available records, A-list video game industry types seem to be leaning in the Democratic direction. Of 16 donors we found, only three had given to Republican candidates. Meanwhile, 13 had donated to Democrats (although only 9 of these gave to Obama).
While our survey can't in any way be considered scientific, we looked at several dozen other prominent industry figures, but did not find any presidential campaign contributions that met our guidelines. The ground rules in use dictated that we would only consider 2007-2008 presidential contributions. In some cases, however, donors gave substantial amounts to congressional races or non-candidate-specific political action committees. Those aren't listed here.
Among the biggest names we found were Rockstar's Sam Houser (Obama), Spore designer Will Wright (McCain) and Ultima designer (and space traveler) Richard Garriott (Hillary Clinton). Here's the list:
- Will Wright: (Spore, The Sims) $3,000 to McCain; previously donated $2,350 to Giuliani
- Bobby Kotick (Activision CEO) $2,300 to McCain; previously donated $2,100 to Romney
- Curt Schilling (38 Studios) $2,300 to McCain.
- Strauss Zelnick (Chairman, Take-Two) $2,000 to Obama; had previously donated to $2,500 to Edwards, $1,000 each to Biden & Richardson
- Ben Feder (CEO, Take-Two) contributed $1,000 to Biden in 2007
- Sam Houser (Rockstar) $4,600 to Obama
- Patricia Vance (president, ESRB) $2,000 to Obama
- John Riccitiello (CEO, EA) $4,600 to Obama
- John Smedley (Sony Online Entertainment) $2,300 to Obama
- Richard Garriott aka "Lord British" (Ultima series, NC Soft) $2,300 to Hillary Clinton
- Alex Rigopulos (CEO, Harmonix) $32,900 to Obama
- Kathy Vrabeck (president, EA Casual) $2,300 to Obama
- George Lucas (LucasFilm) $33,100 to Obama
- Doug Lowenstein (former ESA head) $2,300 to Hillary Clinton
- Kenneth Doroshow (new ESA general counsel) $2,500 to Obama
- Gabe Newell (pres., Valve) $2,300 to Dodd
GP: We will update the list as additional donors are located.
UPDATE: Adding links for each donor. Just click on the name for details. Also, removed a couple of mistaken entries on the Democratic side. Specifically, we had initially listed a John Carmack, but further review indicated that it was not the game desgner.