Four members of the ESA have left in the past week, reducing membership to 24. Hyperbolic reporting is pointing to this as the end of the ESA, referring to it variously as a “sinking ship”, and “collapsing”. No companies are giving statements as to reasons why they are not renewing their ESA membership, but rumours cite a lack of leadership in key areas. The worst of the coverage ranges into conspiracy theories that Activision has links to all the companies that have left and is setting up a rival trade body.
Of course, that’s all pretty sensationalist and plenty of the membership is, so far, intact. Only time will tell how bad this is going to get for the ESA, and their recent changes make it seem likely that it would shed a few members. More likely than any of the rumours cited above is that E3 has shrunk and membership fees have gone up; a comment on Next-Gen claims they have risen from $1M to $5M.
If the rise is really that steep, I can see how a lot of members wouldn’t want to pay that. I can also see how very large organisations that understand how lobbying in Washington works would continue to.
UK trade body TIGA has had a different set of woes recently, with a “TIGA lobbies UK Govt. For Games Industry Tax Breaks” headline popping up nearly every week, yet no victories declared. The latest is TIGA and ELSPA working together on a campaign called Games Up?. Activision are listed as one of the sponsors.