ESA Hopes Bigger E3 Will Permit “Restructuring” of Inflated Membership Fees

Over the last year, video game publishers’ lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association has lost a quarter of its members.  New financial data reported by Gamespot may shed some light on just why the defections have occurred.

Back in 2007 – at the demand of its member companies – the ESA scaled back its annual E3 show, reducing the number of attendees from more than 60,000 to around 5,000. Despite the downsized event pulling in nearly $15 million less than in 2006, the ESAʼs 2007 revenue dropped less then $1 million, thanks to hefty membership fee increases – 1700% hefty.
Dues collected for the year of the Santa Monica E3 (April 1, 2007 – March 31, 2008) rang up at $17.41 million; the prior year’s total was $4.47 million.  The year before that, the ESAʼs total income from member fees was just over $1 million. 
Although NCsoft has gone on record that its decision not to renew its 2009 membership with the ESA was not financially motivated, itʼs a good bet that for some of the memcos (including financially-battered Midway), money was indeed a big factor.
For its part, the ESA told Gamasutra that it’s revisiting its membership dues structure in addition to aiming for a bigger, better, and more profitable E3 2009.  Said ESA CEO Mike Gallagher (left):

The positive restructuring of the E3 Expo allowed us to revisit the ESAʼs dues structure.  It is our hope that this new model will make the ESA an attractive and accessible option for small and mid-sized publishers so we can more fully represent our industryʼs diversity.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Interesting, I have had none of your problems. I get a good number of my requests answered.

    But of course I did not join just for the discounts. My primary reason to join was to actually get involved in what they are doing. You know, getting together with other gamers to fight for our rights and reputaion. That sort of thing.

    For $20 a year,  I think that is worth it.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  2. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    Even so, what you get for being a member of ECA is not much.  Heck, as a member I’ve yet to get any response to any one of my queries (one of which was to try to find out why their promised discount doesn’t actually exist).  I finally sent them a message cancelling my membership – to which they have not responded (surprise, surprise).  I suspect I’ll eventually have to cancel my credit card to ensure that I’m not charged for next year’s dues.

    The moral of my story – avoid the ECA like the plague.  At a cost of nearly $20/year the organization does nothing for its members and is about as responsive as a brick wall.  I would have got more satisfaction by throwing my $20 in the fire or down the toilet.

  3. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "A good way to buffer the cost is to open it the the public and charge an admission fee."

    Agreed, and I just want said admission fee to be small enough for low-middle class to get in.


  4. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    A good way to buffer the cost is to open it the the public and charge an admission fee.


    And what I got from that is, well, are they trying to justify the higher membership fees? As I doubt it’s possible to justify that to a floundering developer, especiallg if they need to spend even more just to get noticed at E3.

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