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Joseph Olin (AIAS President) Interview

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Written by DM on Tuesday, June 06 2006

I had the privledge of meeting and speaking with Joseph Olin, President of The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences at this year's E3 conference. We spoke for a bit and just talked about gaming and the state of affairs. After we got home from L.A., we thought it would be a great idea to get Joseph's take on things in writing, so here it is!

For our readers who are unfamiliar with The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, please give us a brief overview of the organization, when it was founded, and what its mission is.

The Academy was founded in the fall of 1996. It was created by the IDSA (now, the ESA) and its publishers to be an independent organization to recognize significant accomplishments within videogames and interactive entertainment.

The Academy’s formal mission is to recognize and reward outstanding accomplishments and promote its members work as significant within the realm of popular culture. The Academy is governed by a Board of Directors; comprised of senior management from the leading companies in the interactive entertainment and development community.

The Academy is best known for our Interactive Achievement Awards, now in its 10th year; the D.I.C.E. Summit conference; and Into the Pixel, which is a joint project of the ESA, the Academy, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Have you been with the AIAS since the beginning?

I have not been with the Academy since the beginning. I was appointed as President by the AIAS board in July of 2004.

What exactly is it like being the head of an organization like the AIAS? What would a typical day for you entail?

That’s a good question. It’s a great job! I have the privilege of working for and representing many of the game industry’s best talent with the task creating opportunities to showcase their games.

A typical day is always split between the efforts of planning and operating the Academy’s events and spending time speaking with members about our programs and of course working with the AIAS board on how we can improve. I also reach-out to companies that have not yet signed on with the Academy and enlist their support. During the IAA process in the fall, the AIAS staff shifts its focus to work with its 300-plus Peer Panelists, which gives the program its great credibility in the community. Last year our office shipped more than 10,000 games to members for review in about a two-week time period. Between staff and interns, there’s always someone playing a game in our conference room when it’s not in use!

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