And then there were 22...
When 2008 began, the Entertainment Software Association, the lobbying group which represents U.S. video game publishers, had 28 member companies. Several well-publicized departures, however, reduced its ranks to 23 companies by the time that E3 rolled around in July.
A glance at current ESA membership reveals that prominent British game publisher Codemasters is no longer listed as part of the organization.
While there has been no announcement from the ESA, Codemasters' departure must be a fairly recent development. The publisher of the Operation Flashpoint and Colin McRae Rally series was officially reported to be an ESA member as recently as E3. An ESA booklet, Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, distributed at the show, lists the firm as a member on page 12.
Codemasters thus apparently becomes the sixth publisher to leave the ESA since May, following Activision, Vivendi, LucasArts, id, and Crave out the door.
We have a request in to the ESA for comment.
GP: There has been speculation for some time that additional member companies might leave the ESA after E3. Current global economic conditions certainly can't be helpful to the ESA in its efforts to retain members.
UPDATE: The ESA has confirmed that Codemasters has left its membership ranks. A statement from Senior Vice President of Communications and Research Rich Taylor this morning says:
We can confirm that Codemasters has decided not to renew its ESA membership. We respect Codemasters’ decision and look forward to continuing to work with them on issues of mutual interest.