It looks like Nintendo, Sony, and Electronic Arts have withdrawn their support for the much maligned SOPA bill. An update to the government’s list of SOPA supporters (PDF) no longer sports the companies’ names (although Sony’s music divisions are still on there).
Why the change of heart? We’re not sure.
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) CEO Mike Gallagher has written a letter to the industry and the public calling 2011 "historic." One of the key reasons 2011 was such a great year for the games industry and gamers was because of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. EMA, which shot down the California anti-video game law penned by California State Senator Leland Yee (D- San Francisco) - though there were certainly plenty of other milestones to celebrate.
The ESRB and the CTIA detailed a new ratings systems for mobile games this week - backed by such companies as AT&T, Microsoft, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless. Two companies that were curiously absent from that list hold the lion's share of the market when it comes to platforms: Apple and Google.
The Entertainment Software Association, the trade group that represents the video game industry, spent almost $1.1 million in lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. in the third quarter of 2011. The group lobbied on a variety of issues such as energy efficiency, entertainment industry ratings, parental control technology, foreign trade policy reform, the H1-B visa program, piracy, and copyright issues. The group spent about the same amount of money that it did in the second quarter of this year - slightly less than in the third quarter of 2010.
The Entertainment Software Review Board (ESRB) has teamed up with trade group Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association to create a standardized rating system for mobile applications and games. The ESRB says that the new ratings system will be "based on age-appropriateness of their content and context," according to Gamasutra. An official announcement on the new ratings system will take place next Tuesday in Washington, DC.
It looks like the State of California and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) have not quite completed their courtroom business together, but the rest of their battle will take place in a lower court.
The Supreme Court of the United States chose not to make a ruling on the EMA’s request that the court award it $1.4 million in attorney’s fees and expenses related to Brown v. EMA (08-1448). Instead, the court sent it back to the Ninth Circuit Court for adjudication.
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) president and CEO Michael Gallagher went before the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to promote the use of video games and game-like technologies for educational purposes. The talk, entitled "STEM in Action: Inspiring the Science and Engineering Workforce of Tomorrow," was meant to emphasize the fact that games are very effective in encouraging children to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Video game industry trade group the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) issued a press release today touting the popularity (and growing trend) of colleges offering programs in video game design, development and programming - and the number of programs continues to rise at American colleges, universities, art and trade schools across the country. According to new research from the ESA, American colleges and universities will offer around 343 programs in game design, development and programming.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is seeking $1.1 million in legal fees from California for its work related to Brown v. EMA. The move is not an unfamiliar one for the trade group, who has successfully sued and won fees in the lower courts in states throughout the country (notably Louisiana, Michigan, and Illinois), but this is a first at the highest level of the U.S. court system.
"It's unfortunate that some officials continue to believe that unconstitutional laws are the answer, when time and time again courts have thrown out these bills and proven them to be a waste of taxpayers' dollars," the ESA said in a statement... four years ago. Hopefully California's government will listen after this expensive lesson in constitutional law.
According to a Bloomberg report, The Entertainment Software Association spent around $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2011 on lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. The trade group that represent the interactive entertainment industry in North America spent that money on lobbying federal agencies and Congress on the regulation of game content, international trade, the First Amendment and other issues, according to a disclosure report. The ESA (as a participant alongside the Entertainment Merchants Association) scored a victory Monday when the Supreme Court struck down the 2005 California law banning the sale and rental of violent video games to minors.
Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) president Patricia Vance issued a statement today praising the Supreme Court's decision on the California violent videogames law and said that it is a validation of the ESRB ratings system's effectiveness in keeping mature-rated games out of the hands of children. She goes on to say that the power to keep games out of the hands of children has always been in the hands of parents when they use the tools that are already available - coupled with retailer enforcement of the ESRB system. Full statement below:
Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello tells IndustryGamers that today's decision from the Supreme Court on California's violent videogame law is a win for everyone. Last year Riccitiello expressed concern that publishers would be forced to ship different versions of the same title if new rules were implemented in California and other states. He feared state level bureaucracies that define what’s marketable in each state. Today's ruling makes that less likely to happen.
"Everybody wins on this decision – the Court has affirmed the Constitutional rights of game developers; adults keep the right to decide what’s appropriate in their houses; and store owners can sell games without fear of criminal prosecution," Riccitiello told IndustryGamers in a statement today.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) issued a statement welcoming the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. EMA this morning, calling it a "landmark ruling" that protects retailers, videogame developers, and publishers.
"This is a historic and complete win for the First Amendment and the creative freedom of artists and storytellers everywhere. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed what we have always known – that free speech protections apply every bit as much to video games as they do to other forms of creative expression like books, movies and music," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. "The Court declared forcefully that content-based restrictions on games are unconstitutional; and that parents, not government bureaucrats, have the right to decide what is appropriate for their children."
Videogame industry trade group and E3 Expo organizer the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has hired Christian Genetski as its new General Counsel. He'll begin working for the trade association in July, according to the ESA. He replaces SVP and general counsel Kenneth Doroshow, who left the trade group in late January to join the Burford Group, the investment adviser to Burford Capital, as a managing director. He helped represent the videogame industry in the high profile California videogame law currently under review by the Supreme Court.
Genetski's past accomplishments include serving as a founding partner at Zwillinger Genetski LLP, as a partner at Sonnenschein, and as a federal prosecutor in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
The Entertainment Software Association released its annual report on the state of video game play in North America today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. According to the ESA research, 72 percent of American households play video games with 82 percent of those who play being adults. The "2011 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" report also found that 42 percent of gamers are women and that women age 18 or older represent more than one-third of the game-playing population.
In addition, purchases of digital full games, digital add-on content, mobile apps, subscriptions and social network gaming accounted for 24 percent of game sales in 2010, generating right around $5.9 billion in revenue.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo opens up this week and Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher expects the annual event in Los Angeles to attract around 45,000 attendees.
“We are going to look to replicate the success of the past two years,” said ESA president Michael Gallagher, in an interview with VentureBeat.
Gallagher also mentioned that over 200 companies will be at E3 this year, and that foreign participation is climbing.
“We have over 200 companies that are going to be present and exhibiting at the show. That’s a continued escalation in terms of the number of exhibitors.
We'll give you the final attendance numbers at the end of the week when the ESA releases them to the public.
With summer vacation on its way later this month in most parts of the country and with children looking for things to do when they aren't outside, it makes perfect sense that June has been declared Entertainment Ratings & Labeling Awareness Month by DiMA, EMA, NARM, and NATO (no, not THAT NATO).
The Digital Media Association (DiMA), Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), and National Association of Theatre Owners are calling on theatre owners and retailers of movies, music, and video games to highlight and emphasize the motion picture and video game ratings and music labeling systems to their customers.
The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced the 17 works of video game inspired art that will be exhibited at the 2011 Into the Pixel (ITP) event. Now in its eighth year, the ITP – a collaboration between the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) – is the only juried art exhibition that brings together experts from the traditional fine art world and the interactive entertainment industry to display and discuss the art of video games. The 2011 Into the Pixel collection will be unveiled and presented at the annual E3 Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 7-9, 2011, in the Concourse Foyer.
Into the Pixel 2011 Winners are listed below (by exhibit name, game it was inspired by and the artist responsible for the work):
In case you didn't know or need a reminder, the ESA issued a press release today pointing out that the Electronic Entertainment Expo returns to Los Angeles in early June. The annual event dedicated to the interactive entertainment industry takes place June 7 - 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The press release was more about the impact the event has on Los Angeles than the industry.
The event expects to draw "tens of thousands" of attendees which will result "in millions of dollars for Los Angeles." According to the ESA, 28,000 hotel room nights have been booked to date and an estimated $25.1 million in revenue will be generated. Because of the sheer volume of attendees, many major Downtown Hotels as well as properties in the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood will also generate revenue from the show.
Naturally, city officials are delighted with E3's affect on local businesses:
The new Entertainment Software Ratings Board's more automated ratings system went live earlier this week, enabling the ratings system for North America process game ratings in a more timely fashion. The ESRB streamlined the process to deal with the rapid release of games on digital platforms such as Apple's App store, Android Marketplace, Xbox Live Marketplace, PlayStation Store, and on Nintendo's WiiWare.
The new system asks developers to answer eight multiple choice questions about a submitted game, which is passed along to the ratings board (along with game code on DVD to be reviewed later) with $500 to get a rating for their game as quickly as 24 hours later. ESRB head honcho Patricia Vance says that the ratings board has "contemplated what it might take to deal with thousands of small games being submitted to various platforms on a daily basis, she adds that the new system makes such a gargantuan task a possibility.
Guess who else is doing the happy dance over the FTC’s recent findings that the video game industry continues to surpass all others when it comes to retail enforcement.
That’s right, it’s the Entertainment Software Association, the industry trade group for video game publishers in the U.S. Said ESA president Michael Gallagher:
“The ESRB is the gold standard. Our self-regulatory system works and this FTC report validates it as being the best in the entertainment industry. We have an unparalleled commitment to working with parents, retailers, and stakeholders, and will continue to help ensure that this remarkable level of enforcement remains high.”
“Those who would criticize the industry’s commitments are either ignorant of facts or are actively pursuing a political agenda.”
AE: Ooh, burn!
Starting today, North American video game ratings system ESRB revealed that it will start using a computer-based program to determine ratings on some games. According to a New York Times report, the ESRB has developed a computer program designed to take developer input to create a rating for their games. This will be used first with downloadable games on platforms such as Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and WiiWare titles.
Game developers will fill out an online questionnaire to find out what "violence, sexuality, profanity, drug use, gambling and bodily function" that might be considered questionable by players. The submissions would then be reviewed by the new ESRB software and a rating would be issued. A submitted game won't be reviewed by an actual human until after release.
Entertainment Software Association tax documents reveal that the return of the Electronic Entertainment Expo to Los Angeles from Santa Monica managed to net the group $12 million. From 2006 to 2009, the Entertainment Software Association changed the format of its annual trade show several times before settling on its current format.
In 2007 the group attempted to downsize the show and moved it from the Los Angeles Convention Center to nearby Santa Monica. While it made the show smaller, it also raised membership due and show fees, which agitated a number of publishers. In 2008, the ESA returned the show to the LA Convention Center, but kept it small. This resulted in reduced revenues for the show that year - from $3.49 million in 2006 to $3.24 million in 2007. Membership fees that year were not enough to offset that shortfall; ESA dues raised $15.22 million in 2007, down from a high of $17.41 million the year prior.
A Spring Hill, Florida couple have been accused of pirating video games, and have been arrested by Hernando County Sheriffs. The couple, 25-year-old Javian-Jamal Moore and his wife, 27-year-old Lakeria Monique Moore, were both charged with organized fraud. Javian-Jamal Moore is being held at the Hernando County Jail on a $5,000 bond. His wife was released on her own recognizance so she could care for their children. Police were led to the couple by an anonymous tip.
The anonymous caller said that a craigslist ad was offering modding for a Nintendo video game system (we assume Wii) that would allow the user to install pirated software. The couple was apparently charging $195 for this "service." Detectives contacted Nintendo and the Electronic Software Association (ESA) about the allegations, who in turn asked the sheriff's office to prosecute the couple for their crimes.
Detectives said the value for the software was right around $33,000.
Video game industry trade group the Entertainment Software Association claims that 54 percent of all illegal fileshares come from five nations on the International Intellectual Property Alliance's "watch list." These countries include Italy, Spain, China, Brazil and France. The group cites the "Special 301" report put together by IIPA. The ESA is a member of the group.
"Our industry continues to grow in the U.S., but epidemic levels of online piracy stunt sales and growth in a number of countries, including Italy, China, Spain, Brazil and France, where we see crushing volumes of infringing peer-to-peer activity involving leading game titles," said ESA president and CEO Michael Gallagher.
The Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy offers an exhaustive analysis of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association in an article called "The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same: Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association."
Beatrice M. Hahn dissects every aspect of the case - from the positions of both sides and the lack of data supporting the state's case, to free speech issues and the definition of obscenity. While the lengthy review of the case is interesting, readers will be more fascinated with the conclusions: the Supreme Court will probably rule against California's 2005 video game law.
From the last three paragraphs of the article:
In an editorial entitled "Your mom will hate 'Dead Space 2,' but does anyone care?," writer Tim Dunn ponders why EA's marketing department has used a technique usually used for teens and children for a mature rated game. Further, he wonders why EA would even think about using such a campaign when the Supreme Court is hearing a case about keeping ultra violent video games out of the hands of you children.
While his comments might seems a little overblown, he points out some valid concerns as well. He mentions mature games such as Heavy Rain and Red Dead Redemption, which carry a mature rating because they are telling stories and tackling topics that are geared towards adults. The Dead Space 2 campaign plays on "juvenile notions of maturity gamers have worked hard to change." In other words, the marketing for the game takes that fight a step back.
Here is more from Dunn: