ECA acquires news blog GamePolitics

Freshly formed Entertainment Consumers Association snaps up game blog; partnership with NCsoft also announced.

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Wasting no time since its soft launch earlier this month, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) today detailed two new partnerships. The organization, which calls itself "an advocacy organization for consumers of interactive entertainment" acquired the intellectual property of popular game news blog GamePolitics. In addition, the ECA has partnered with NCsoft to build out that publisher's PlaySmart initiative.

The news blog, which details the myriad developments on the legislative and political fronts that affect the game industry, is penned by Dennis McCauley, a game journalist and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Under the terms of the deal, the ECA will own the content of McCauley's site and retain his services as its politics editor.

"We're excited to have Dennis and GamePolitics on board as [the site] both compliment[s] [sic] the ECAs objectives and provide[s] great value to our members," ECA founder Hal Halpin said in a statement. "Like most gamers who care deeply about their rights and the government's intervention in games I have been a fan of both Dennis and GamePolitics for some time."

McCauley has been covering games, legislation affecting the sale and ownership of games, politics in general, and game critics since founding his site in March, 2005.

Speaking with GameSpot earlier, McCauley detailed the alliance, stating, "I've always had a lot of respect for Hal Halpin. He's invariably been very forthright in speaking about the issues which are important to gamers and he was always willing to spend time--a lot of time--interacting with the readers on GamePolitics. Most of our readers are gamers, and they really appreciated Hal's ability to connect with them."

Talking with GameSpot, Halpin said a McCauley-scribed daily newsletter would soon launch as well, though no specific launch date was mentioned.

Asked how the deal will change GamePolitics, McCauley said, "Not much at all."

Clarifying his new role, he added it would be "to continue to provide the same kind of editorial content that keeps folks informed about the latest political and cultural developments in relation to video games... Old school readers should see a seamless transition, and we're hoping new readers who connect with us via the ECA enjoy the kind of solid reporting that GamePolitics has become known for."

The ECA also detailed its alliance with Guild Wars publisher NCsoft, backing that publisher's PlaySmart initiative, a program designed to "advance online gaming and security by providing gamers a comprehensive set of common-sense guidelines drawn from industry standards."

Renaming the program PlaySmart Presented by ECA, the outcome of the partnership will include the distribution of PlaySmart tips cards at events and conferences the ECA has partnerships with, as well as a jointly-developed PlaySmart Web page that will contain a list of safety and security tips to help gamers stay safe while playing NCsoft's massively multiplayer games.

"With regard to the PlaySmart initiative, this too was synergistic," Halpin said. "NCSoft developed a great program that exemplifies corporate social responsibility, and partnering with and supporting the ECA is testimony to their dedication to the gaming community. This service should be both impactful in getting the word out about online safety and it should resonate with gamers and parents alike."

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