ECA’s Hal Halpin: ESA “Viable and Really Needed”

Hal Halpin (left), president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), gives a wide-ranging interview to today.

The leadoff question from interviewer Phil Elliott concerns the May incident in which Dan Hewitt, public relations head for game publishers’ lobbying group ESA, said some nasty  things about GamePolitics (e.g., "Calling GamePolitics a news site is as laughable as saying there’s a Cuban free press."). has previously spanked Hewitt and the ESA over the incident. In today’s interview Hal Halpin pointed out that some level of conflict between the consumer focus of the ECA and GamePolitics and the publisher-centric ESA, is inevitable:

The vast majority of time our expectations and our goals and our challenges are going to be the exact same as those of the IGDA [International Game Developers Association], the EMA [Entertainment Merchants Assocation] and the ESA – because they represent the industry and we represent the consumers.

And 80 per cent of the time we’ll get along great, but that other 20 per cent of the time we’re going to be divergent in terms of our interests on behalf of our members – and with respect to the comment that the ESA issued, I chalk it up to a month or two of frustration on behalf of the individual who made the statement. It was a difficult couple of months and they were under a lot of pressure, getting a lot of bad press, and it was easy to take a swipe. It was unfortunate and I think he regrets it.

Asked whether the ESA’s future was cloudy, Halpin said:

The ESA is still very viable and the association is really needed. Because of that couple of weeks of discontent between the associations I think people are under the false impression that we want to see anything bad happen to the ESA – and that is not at all the case.

You know, I think a strong and vibrant ESA is really important to the sector as a whole as far as their membership going forward…

Hal also dishes on used game sales and other issues.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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  1. 0
    Funky J ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I like to hear what Hal has to say, but again, here is a great story ruined by the Fox News style of Games Politics.

    It’s only fair that you wanted to cross promote the Hal Harpin interview.

    But come on… We all know that only a small proportion of readers actually read the whole story as supplied, let alone waste the energy clicking on a link, so did this story really need to focus on the ESA tiff again?

    I think his points on the ESRB and second hand games, which are far more relevant to consumers (the people the ECA and therefore Game Politics are meant to be representing) should be the focus on this link, not the so-called tiff between the ESA and ECA.

    Did GP really need to bury the lede and frame it in the confrontational way it has??

    Of course not! You’re just trying to stir controversy for controvery’s sake.

    The fact that Jack Thompson (or someone pretending to be) decided to comment reinforces that notion.

  2. 0

    What the hell is with the Hal Halpin glam shots?


    -Entertainment isn’t the reason the world sucks. It’s the reason we know the world sucks. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard researchers Larry Kutner&Cheryl Olson

  3. 0
    Vake ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Totally agree. The gamers need the ESA to rally around for everything from E3 to political protests.

    The ESA needs to survive.

    Mike Gallager needs to be shot.

  4. 0
    HarmlessBunny says:

    The ESA is a much needed group, however it is in need of a complete overhaul in structure and organization.  The past while the ESA has acted when it shouldn’t, not act when it should, and the terrible E3…plainly show ESA needs a just a bit of reworking.

    My two cents.

  5. 0
    Kojiro ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think Hal’s comments on rentals and used games are spot on.  If you guys haven’t read it, it’s worth the time.  Though I guess we aren’t the ones who need to hear it…

  6. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Well, I would think that the ESA would like to see the ECA gone. The ESA would much rather have a consumer group they can control, ala the VGVN.

    In the real world it is best to have independant groups representing each sector of the video game industry. It has worked well so far and will continue to work well once everyone is confortable with each other.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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    E. Zachary Knight
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  7. 0
    kurisu7885 (can't log in) says:

    Glad to know the ESA and ECA are on generally good terms.

    Surprising, since I thought the ECA was a group the ESA woudl like to see vanish.

  8. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Hal Halpin Says: Brush Your Teeth Kids and, Remember, Winners Don’t Use Drugs!

    Anyone got anymore classic quotes from the Legend that is Mr Halpin?

  9. 0
    gs2005 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    In theory, the ECA would target a larger membership than what it has now.  However, will there be any future USA-based ECA members who think that video games do not get first amendment protections, such as the non-ECA politicians, Leland Yee (and Schwarzenegger) who are trying to defend their fantasy no matter how much it costs the state of California taxpayers?

    I think that would be an interesting conflict of interest.



    On an unrelated note, despite my disdain for the ESA, I do not blame them for the fucked up DMCA-that blame rest on congress whores who think that protecting hollywood is more important than consumer rights and who love lobbying money.

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