These are my opinions and extrapolations on the subject. Forgive my language, I've been reading too much Penny Arcade and Girl Genius lately.
are video games art? depends... I've seen paintings, sculptures, and junk heaps that people called art, and I would certainly disagree. I've read books and watched movies that I wouldn't consider art. but there are just as many of those items that I *would* consider art. Art is indefinable.
I think people are... sensitive... to Ebert because he is an established Voice in the aether that is a global community. Video game related people possibly fear his comments the same way they feared Jack Thompson. Thompson is an extremist in his views and instead of just keeping it to himself, he sought to push his views on others through through Congress and create laws against video games. My assumptions with the Video Game industry v. Ebert is that Ebert is not an extremist who rendered himself irrelavent with his own rantings. Ebert is a level headed individual who just doesnt like games. Because Ebert has an outlet, via whatever Published Entity that promotes him, his "critiques" are given more weight than Joe Average and his facebook blog.
The big thing everyone is looking for is validation that what they do or like matters and that it is considered something of value. As the artical Jude posted, why do we *care* what Ebert says?! Big deal, the guy doesnt like games. Ebert hasn't been relevent to me for 20years, and that's my own opinion of the guy.
The internet is more a boon to us video gamers than it is a bane with all the septic arguments against us. We are connected now. Even 20years ago, we may have been the only person in high school, or our family or community who liked video games, and we would be alone. Now with explosion of the internet, we are connected to people across the globe and can develop aquaintences or friendships based on our hobbies. Elliquy is a prime example of this phenomon.
By extrapolation of this subject to transcend the state of things in the world so far:
The world would be better if people would just *SOD OFF* and leave me to mine and I'll leave you to yours.
You like doing 'X'? good for you! not my cup of tea, dont push it on me.
I like 'Y', ask me about it if you like it, if not, dont knock it, I could care less what you think.
As long as your not impinging or infringing on another's person, place, space, or things, I dont care what you like, do, or kill time with.