ECA Unveils New GameCulture Site

December 5, 2007 -
There is some big news this morning from Hal Halpin and the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA).

The ECA is launching the beta version of GameCulture, a brand new destination for gamers, mass media outlets and entertainment consumers of all sorts. GameCulture will feature a unique editorial voice which will provide a sense of how videogames, game technology, and game culture are changing the world around us.

GameCulture was designed and will be managed by veteran journalist Aaron Ruby (left), co-author of Smartbomb, a 2005 New York Times Editor’s Pick. Said the ECA's Halpin:
We couldn’t be more excited to introduce GameCulture, or more blessed to have Aaron heading it up. It’s absolutely core to our [ECA] mission that we redefine the label ‘gamer’ and in doing so reverse the negative stereotypes which anti-games legislators and anti-gamer advocates have created.

Aaron Ruby added:
I’m really looking forward to the launch of GameCulture. One of the best kept secrets about videogames is that regardless of whether you like them or hate them, games are profoundly influencing every facet of our culture, from the esoteric to the everyday.

It’s not just about entertainment anymore. The intersection of games and culture is a fascinating place, and the ECA web team did an amazing job of building a site that offers something new to dedicated gamers while remaining relevant for those who don’t normally follow game media.

So how will the ECA, GameCulture and GamePolitics interrelate? Hal Halpin explains:
[GamePolitics serves] the very pinnacle of the consumer pyramid – the gamers who are most passionate about their rights, are early adopters and even hard-core gamers, people who are highly educated about our collective challenges.

In contrast to that, GameCulture will focus more on the influence and future of games, and is thus set to serve the broader base of the pyramid, targeting not just the hard-core but also those that occasionally or even regularly play games, but might not identify themselves as gamers per se... 

I think it’s crucial that there is an outlet that includes them and can also serve as a resource for the mass media, helping mainstream journalists understand how game culture has permeated society in some meaningful and tangible ways.

Full Disclosure Dept: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics (and GameCulture)...

photo courtesy of: Emberwilde Productions)


I don't know. Looks like the site is nothing but a content syndication portal at the moment with a few blog posts thrown in for good measure. Let's see how it develops going forward, but right now I'm not impressed.

The design is WAY too busy.

damn missed an L


Hey Dennis, did you forget the disclosure you normally put on the bottom of ECA posts? OR do you not need to do it for some reason.

Anyway, the site right now looks ... interesting. I certainly hope it'll get cleaned up, as right now it hurts my eyes to look at it. There are so many things happening on that page I have no clue exactly WHAT is happening. But it's beta, so I'll give it time.

GP: Shadow, I thought it was apparent from the tone of the article that ECA owns both sites. But I will add that in, justto be consistent.

Sorry, to clarify... gaming to advance the competitiveness of a business... simulation models to increase efficiency... etc.

Business as a seperate entity colliding with Gaming. My apologies.

@ Jadedcritic

I think what he was implying is that it takes care and special attention to build these kind of organizations. The ECA will not be able to pick up momentum and be an affective organization over night.

As for this:

Sooner or later someone’s going to have to sit down with Hal and ask how he responds to the allegations that the ECA’s agenda is suspiciously like the industry’s agenda, despite the fact that consumers do not share the same priorities or goals as the industry.

I would have to say that it has already been addressed to an extent. The ECA is in support of the Fair Use Bill. The ESA is not. The ESA is in support of the DMCA. The ECA is not. There are interests that both organizations share, such as video game legislation, but there are plenty of ways they differ.

There is more out there that needs to be addressed, but without input from the people they are supposed to represent, how are they going to know what direction to go in?

To put it bluntly, their problems are your problems, you just need to tell them what those problems are.

Maybe JBT can get his own editorial section after he is disbarred.... you know, to give him something to do at the mental hospital between medicine time and jell-o time.


LOLs dude, thats funny to me seeing as he's got a history of treating halpin with nothing short of hatred and contempt.

That being said, I like this idea. Hope halpin promotes Childsplay Chairty. That needs to get out in the news more. Already did my donation this year. Will do a second when my next pay check shows up. If I have the money of course.

I must admit to being please with Hal and the ECA, it's nice to see them getting into there role as Consumer supporters. Makes me proud. Now if they can just get the DMCA to die, or be rewritten into something that doesn 't anally violate the consumer, Then we'll really be talking '

@Pixelantes Anonymous

Agreed, the site is way to busy. That being said I'm glad to see something like this being created.

[...] via GamePolitics [...]

@ Pixelantes

Well the site is in a public Beta. It usually takes time for websites to generate the content they want on a regular basis. Give a few weeks to a month and I am sure that you will see better content.

As for the business of the site, yes it is busy. I don't think that it really interferes with the purpose though. Sometimes a little business is a good thing.

Mixed thoughts. On one hand, I suppose it's pretty harmless; and I'll certainly give it a chance to make some sort of impression for a couple weeks. On the other hand, these "look what the ECA is doing" threads are getting kind of...odd. Oh thank you ECA, I don't know who else we could count on to -make websites-.

I won't say that this kind of thing is why I have a dim view of the ECA, but this kind of thing is certainly a factor.

Is there really a need to make a thread about this? It just seems like pointless advertising, which is really hurting GamePolitics' image IMO. I mean, I know the ECA is GP's parent site, but really.

GP: I can't say I agree with you. We've commented on interesting new sites in the past. The short-lived GameTwat most recently comes to mind. GameCulture, OTOH, is an ECA initiative and run by a guy with some well-deserved chops as an observer of the effects of gaming and culture.

If you catch me throwing pointless links over there, then we'll talk. But a story about the opening of a new ECA site? I think it merits coverage.


A quick examination of the site places it more closely to a Specialist Game Community News Site. In contrast, GamePolitics is even more narrowly focused as an Interactive Specialist News site focusing on the role of Politics in Games.

But how will GameCulture make itself stand out from the likes of Joystiq and Kotaku? Or is GameCulture going to be similar to GamePolitics, but on a wider scale, by bringing together the stories all around regarding games that exist on various sites (dealing with business, consumer affairs, and other broader stories than GP)?

While having one place that gathers all the stories is nice, I still feel like, sometimes, I'm going around and around. Site 1 has a story referring to Site 2 while Site 2 has a story brought up by Site 3 and Site 3 has a story that was written about on Site 2 but originated on Site 1. Makes a person dizzy sometimes.

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

It doesnt help that some of the content currently listed is over 10 years old. Luckily most of it is current and fairly relevant.

I don't like how they state that GP readers are the top of "the pyramid". It feels kinda arrogant. I mean, I don't come because I really care about games in politics. I come here because I care about politics and games (as two separate entities) and this site is a good way to combine the two.

As for the site, I can't say I really like the design and layout. But I may be pampered by GP's minimalistic design.

Interesting to see where this goes. I feel like I've seen other groups/subcultures try to do this before, without much success. But I'll keep my fingers crossed.

@ WarOtter

Umm, where's the RSS? :)

I also think the site is a bit busy. I'll be interested to see how the site will eventually manage editorials, blogs, and feeds to bring a mass of gaming information together.

It might quickly be added to my daily browsing as ESPN and CNN don't update their sites with enough information everyday.

@ Sidewinder: I think the point he is trying to make isn't that GP is for more sophisticated readers. I think it's to speak directly to your interest... politics and gaming as seperate entities coming together.

It would be more illustrative if they had similar niche sites such as or (department of defense, although probably very niche). But, I think you get the point.

I'd be interested in a site... as that's where my interest is (in addition to gaming and politics).

Gameculture seems like a fine idea, but it has no RSS feed, which means I will *never* visit the site. Sorry, but there's too many sites vying for my attention, and if I can't easily add them to my reader, they just don't get visited.

@ Thomas

I’d be interested in a site… as that’s where my interest is (in addition to gaming and politics).

If that is the case, you should try It has quite a few articles on running a games business, news from the industry etc.

Give it a try and see what you think.

I like the idea that gameculture presents, but I'll be staying on the front lines here. ;)

I will definitely give GameCulture a chance in the next few weeks but right now it looks like a glorified portal.

I think that gaming sites should really sit down and think about their logos too. Why must so many look like a freaky stamp in all caps. The color scheme and font really reminds me of "violent" video games and movies. The site seems to lends itself to seem raw and edgy and not for broader appeal. It just flat out looks dark to me.


As Jack Valenti has said, “"Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it."

The ECA is concentrating on building communities with and for different types of gamers. Folks who go to GC may also come to GP, and vice versa, but some may not.

Brett Schenker
Online Advocacy Manager

Hmm...I don't like the font sizes for the headlines. I think that's what is making the layout appear too busy.

Design issues aside, this site has real potential. I look forward to future content.

How does one subscribe to the blog? I couldn't find any RSS utility.


Not sure, but did you just indirectly imply that I'm a jackass? I'm actually kidding somewhat, I don't mind. = ) Plus I don't dispute the accuracy of the Jack Valenti quote.

I'm just not easily impressed by buzzwords like online "communities". If the ECA ever succeeds in convincing me to join, it will be through more concrete actions; less rhetoric. Plus, put simply, the credibility gap remains and MUST be addressed. Sooner or later someone's going to have to sit down with Hal and ask how he responds to the allegations that the ECA's agenda is suspiciously like the industry's agenda, despite the fact that consumers do not share the same priorities or goals as the industry.


you're right... we need to kick more barns down!


Building and sustaining a community is very important when it comes to advocacy. The ECA has bought, developed, and launched several publications, which serve multiple communities. We're building a robust forum module and expanding GamePolitics. We're also working on advocacy tools that empower members and non-members alike to make their voices heard. Chapters have started across the country with six being established in the past six months. The ECA is still a new organization and it takes time to make sure everything is in order and works, and works well. There's no reason to rush in unprepared and not be take seriously by those that the gaming community is looking to influence.

And while "community" might be a buzzword, it's an important one. It's the gamers (and non-gamers) who help the ECA influence elected officials. MoveOn, the Club for Growth, the AARP, and many others wouldn't be effective organizations without their communities. Your voices matter, and we hope you use them by contacting your elected officials and also in the voting booth. You can conveniently register to vote through a widget right here on GamePolitics.

As far as agenda goes, there are times that the ECA and industry will agree and other times we won't. We agree with the industry on issues of constitutional free speech and video game content. The ECA has already diverged from the industry on issues such as the Fair Use Act, which gives back the power to the consumer to use legally purchased media that are presently restricted under the industry sponsored restrictive measures of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).

Brett Schenker
Online Advocacy Manager

"GP: Shadow, I thought it was apparent from the tone of the article that ECA owns both sites. But I will add that in, justto [sic] be consistent."

Eh, I guess it was, I'm just saying ... wouldn't want our good friend JT to file a motion against you or something because of it. ;)

Thanks for taking the time to stop by, and thanks for the criticism, too. We're still in beta, so there are a lot of kinks to iron out, and the content and tone of the site are very much still evolving.

@Patrick and CommiePuddin:

@nightwing2000: GC is not going to try and compete with the enthusiast sites like Joystiq and Kotaku. Those guys do a great job already. We're trying to take a wider perspective on how the idea of 'play' and game culture are influencing and reflected in the wider culture. The OLPC program is a great example of that. So too are the myriad ways the Wii-mote is being adapted and adopted as a cheap means of gestural control for visualizations and simulations in science and art. User-generated content and remix culture come straight out of games, and social networking sites owe a lot to the creative community building that's been a part of gaming from day one. Meanwhile, virtual worlds are increasingly finding their way into mainstream lives. The list goes on. Of course, GC is also about games, so there is some overlap.

What I want to do at GC (and it's something that will take a bit of time to develop and hit our stride with) is to try and bring the headlines that tell these stories together and provide a bit of viewpoint and focus via the blog.

Hopefully, you'll all stop by now and again, and tell me what sucks and what doesn't. If there are stories or issues you think should be there, let me know about them too.

@ E. Zachary Knight &
@ Thomas

I read Gamasutra regularly and love it. It is a good "Industry-perspective" site. A friend and I are attempting to copyright a game design and used articles, interviews and discussions from Gamasutra to learn a whole lot about industry trends.

Good stuff...


"The ECA is in support of the Fair Use Bill. The ESA is not. The ESA is in support of the DMCA. The ECA is not."

This is just the reverse sides of the same issue. Fair use consitutes DMCA reform - to support reform to the bill is to oppose the current state of it. 2 examples, same principle.

"To put it bluntly, their problems are your problems, you just need to tell them what those problems are. "

Perhaps this is the gist of the problem, isn't it? ECA seems to model itself after a PAC of sorts. Though I don't know for certain that's the appropriate acronymn, it's close enough to suit my tastes. MoveOn, the Club for Growth, the AARP (these are basically all political action groups). Though it may be somewhat lazy and short-sighted of me, I simply don't feel I need a PAC. I don't feel like I don't have a voice, we have a voice, we just don't USE IT.

I have a theory. Don't misinterpret me, this is my own personal theory, and I'm not suggesting it as a course of action, I'm merely trying to illustrate how my thinking works. I think the point at which groups like the ECA will become REALLY INTERESTING, is the point when the ECA stops lobbying just the government and starts lobbying the industry in terms of consumer interest, I'm talking about things like mod support / stability, broader releases of new IP's instead of rehashes of the same old franchises. Take a look at this example of the ruckus over Gamespot/Jeff Gerstmann. Imagine if the ECA were to commission it's own review network. If the ECA members pay the bills, there's no reason to believe anyone doing those reviews would be the least bit interested in what the advertisers think. That would be interesting! Imagine if ECA reps were able to go out and negotiate retail discounts at stores for their members? Oh, I'm not talking about anything huge, I'm not even talking retail chain stores. Imagine if they talked amazon into giving 5% off to members (or something to that effect). Ohhh...interesting... Imagine if they sponsored and organized conventions in different regions. Oh, I'm not talking about one in every city, but the ECA version of PAX. If there was one within a five hour drive, I'd probably register just to go to that.

There are plenty of PACs out there so to speak, it seems to me that if you really want to be a voice for consumers, you should do the things consumers can't do for themselves, and the point I'm trying to get at is those things don't all begin and end at Capitol Hill.

In the end, I think that's what I really want to see from the ECA. Some form of consumer action that doesn't involve largely useless support of a law which, much as I'd like to see it pass, probably won't. (Fair use), and/or petitioning government.

@ jadedcritic

That is what I would love to see from the ECA as well. I really hope that that is in their plan of action. It is after all the games industry that needs to be lobbied. The government is important as well, but they most likely need to start there to gain some kind of presence in the world before moving directly to the games industry.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to downplay the importance of civic action, but I think that's why I have trouble taking the ECA seriously, there's a huge difference inbetween a simple PAC and an organization which pretends to be a consumer advocate. I know we live at Gamepolitics, so we tend to think allot about politics, but the reality is politics and law is only one fraction of the consumer experience.

Maybe that's something they could do that I'd be interested in. Sort of a sister site to GC and GP; don't know what they could call it, but I'm imagining sort of a video game version of Consumer Reports. They could do console and accessories analysis. Price listings for bargain shoppers. Rate customer service at the various online retailers; Issue some "keep away" kinds alerts and things when websites develop bad reputations. Heavy consumer focus, host files for mods, user created skins. Maybe even tournaments.

I suppose you could call it GameReports, but that's pretty bland. Sorry, I'm just speaking from my imagination's of consciousness so to speak, but hopefully it still makes at least a little sense.

I should mention that, due to a server-side mixup, the alpha site was up when this article was posted. That was quickly rectified and the beta is now able to be seen...

"provide a sense of how videogames, game technology, and game culture are changing the world around us"

Will it really be looking at the world? Or is this like the World Series of Baseball you Americans hold, where, you know, only one country participates???


Seriously though, I would like a site with the scope that GameCulture appears to aspire to, to actually look a little further afield than just the USA.

Great comment FunkyJ!

@Funky J

That's not true! Canadian teams are in Major League Baseball, too! ;-)

Seriously, good point.

I'll take a look at this new site. I have a strong interest in how gaming intersects with other disciplines. Hopefully this new site is interesting.

On the subject of the Omaha shootings. According to CBS the perp enjoyed games. Oh, hell...

@FunkyJ: During alpha we posted about China, Spain, Africa, Germany, Argentina, and a few other places that don't matter because they're not the U.S. You don't really expect me to post about them in beta though, do you?


The design reminds me a sensationalist magazine/newspaper right now. It looks too "broad" or something. I'm at a loss for words at what I'm reading right now, as if my eyes were bleeding from the pain.
I can only describe it as such, its like trying to be a horror film preview right now. I hope it improves and looks cleaner or a better format.

Needless to say, I'm interested in what the future may hold.

ok, so the current verdict is not positive on the design i take it. :)

we'll work on it.

Aaron: Posting about it is a little different to knowing about it.

GP posted a story about the UK and got that terribly wrong, forgetting incredibly important bits of information, over sensationalising the story (and I suspect deliberately)

I'd like to see some writers with local knowledge about China, Japan, Europe, the UK and Australia be involved.

Yes, I realise it's early days, but still...


You're absolutely right. Atm, I'm in the U.S., so I don't really have on-the-ground knowledge of Asia and Europe. However, if you or any of GP's readers are interested in contributing, don't hesitate to contact me. That goes for any subject people have interest in writing about.

I don't have my personal gameculture domain mailboxes set up yet, but you can get me by going to gameculture and hitting the 'contact us link'. That should be working. Alternatively, you can send an email to


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