In today's checkered political landscape, virtually every interest group has an advocacy group representing it. So little wonder, then, that gamers would soon get their own nonprofit representation organization--or, what most people call a lobby.
Hot on the heels of the recent formation of the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), which represents game and video retailers, comes the announcement of the formation of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA). The connection between the two goes beyond their similar-sounding names, as the ECA's president is none other than Hal Halpin, former president of the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), which merged with the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) to form the EMA earlier this year.
According to the mission statement on its Web site, the ECA is "an advocacy organization for consumers of interactive entertainment. ... The mission of the ECA is to give game consumers a voice and to ensure that elected officials hear their concerns and appreciate the growing influence of the gamer demographic."
The ECA site also points out that "nearly 50 percent of the US population...spend $10 billion annually on gaming yet as a group are continually overlooked by both politicians and the mainstream press." The ECA will work to remedy said oversight, though no particular initiative to raise awareness amongst nongamers has yet been announced.
Anyone interested in joining the ECA can do so for a $19.99 annual membership fee. Besides funding pro-game publicity and lobbying efforts, the organization is planning a series of benefits, including a magazine, discounts on game rentals and purchases, and free PC game demos for download. Members will also be eligible for a PlayStation 3 giveaway planned for later in the year.