It's the cattiest ding-dong between two games companies for years – the sort of old-fashioned, furious set-to that would have messrs Riccitiello and Zelnick cowering in their board room.
In the red corner, the Entertainment Software Association; US publisher body and organiser of E3.
In the blue corner, games news website Gamepolitics.com and its parent the Entertainment Consumers Association.
The astonishing spat has kicked off over the fact that the ESA's choice of key speaker at this year's E3 could be considered something of a 'zealous' believer in Christianity.
Earlier this week, the Dallas Morning News reported that
Texas Governor Rick Perry – keynote guest of honour at E3 – backed fellow controversial minister John Hagee's belief that ‘non-Christians will be condemned to Hell'. Perry told the paper: Buddha and the other ones leave me confused.”
Cue an infuriated GamePolitics news piece questioning Perry's suitability for a secular games event, reporting that ‘his divisive comments indicate that the ESA should rescind the offer' – but stopping short of questioning whether the Govenor loses sleep over ‘false prophets' Mario and Master Chief.
In the words of GP, the ESA then ‘went ballistic', with communications director Dan Hewitt questioning GamePolitics' impartiality, and attacking its ECA parentage. His vitriol even went as far comparing the blog to a communist news source.
Hewitt sent a letter to Joystiq which stated: If the ESA posted a blog and called it a news site, journalists would rightfully balk and it wouldn't pass a smell test.
"Remarkably, GamePolitics doesn't face the same scrutiny even though it's funded by the ECA and tainted with anti-ESA vitriol. At the end of the day, calling GamePolitics a news site is as laughable as saying there's a Cuban free press."
The ECA's VP of marketing Heather Ellertson then threw HER angry hat into the ring (we do hope you're keeping up with all this). She responded:
"We were shocked by the quotes that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) provided to Joystiq about GamePolitics this afternoon.
Comparing a non-profit consumer advocacy organization to communist Cuba is unprofessional to say the least... especially given the broad support that the ECA and our consumer members have shown for the ESA. We stand behind our publications and their editors and appreciate their talent and dedication."
This one could get nasty. We'll be ringside with all the latest updates.