Congress members and representatives from the computer and video game industry launched a new caucus Wednesday morning at an event on Capitol Hill.
The new Congressional Caucus for Competitiveness in Entertainment Technology, also called the E-Tech Caucus, will address ongoing issues within the burgeoning interactive entertainment sector.
Meeting at the caucus' launch will be Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), co-chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Cooney Center executive director Michael H. Levine, Ph.D., Entertainment Software Association CEO Michael Gallagher, and members of the caucus.
Representatives for Congressman Brady said the games industry generates over 120,000 jobs across various disciplines across 34 states, with average salaries of $89,000.
Brady's press reps said game industry revenues are around $24 billion in the U.S., and there is growing demand for game development-related education. The new caucus will also examine worldwide intellectual property theft.
[UPDATE: Video game industry trade body ESA applauded the establishment of the caucus in a statement.
"Our industry has demonstrated great potential over the last few years in many new areas, including health, education, and medicine," said ESA head Gallagher.
"It is our goal to work with the E-Tech Caucus to continue that growth well into the 21st century by fostering the creation of more innovative technologies and growing America’s competitive position in the global entertainment technology marketplace," he added.
The ESA said between 2005-2009, the computer and video game industry grew at an annual rate of 10.6 percent, compared to the overall U.S. economy which grew 1.4 percent annually during the same period.
Dr. Levine with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop added that games can make learning more compelling, and help the U.S. be more competitive in the global landscape.
"The newly established Congressional Caucus has an essential role to play in shining a bright light on the games and learning sector," he said. "It can help build public-private partnerships that encourage entrepreneurs to develop bold breakthrough designs and help modernize education for a digital age."]