Entertainment Software Association

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Logo of the Entertainment Software Association.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is the trade association of the video game industry in the United States. It was formed in April 1994 as the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) and renamed on July 16, 2003. It is based in Washington, D.C..[1][2]

Most of the top publishers in the gaming world (or their American subsidiaries) are members of ESA, including Capcom, Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, Namco Bandai Games, Nintendo, Sega, Sony Computer Entertainment, Square Enix, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The ESA’s policy is based by member companies serving on the ESA’s three Working Groups:[3]

  • Intellectual Property Working Group
  • Public Policy Committee
  • Public Relations Working Group


Doug Lowenstein founded the ESA.[4] On December 14, 2006, game blog Kotaku reported[5] that he was resigning to take a job in finance outside the industry. On May 17, 2007, Mike Gallagher replaced Doug Lowenstein as the president of ESA.[6]

On August 18, 2007, it was discovered that someone from an IP address belonging to the ESA modified the modchip and abandonware articles in Wikipedia, by changing article content to represent legal opinions held by the ESA.[7]

Controversial Support for SOPA and PIPA[edit]

In 2012, frustrated by the Entertainment Software Association‘s support of the proposed anti-piracy SOPA and PIPA legislation, Red 5 Studios CEO Mark Kern founded the League For Gamers (LFG), which intends to advocate for gamers' interests, which may conflict with the industry protection measures the ESA advocates. [8][9][10][11]

DMCA Notices[edit]

Like other trade associations such as the RIAA, the ESA has been known to actively send copyright infringement notices to websites and ISPs (targeting users).[12][13]

To effectively combat this, users of the Bit Torrent client are able to thwart the ESA by using a number of IP hiding methods, including VPN, PeerBlock and Proxy servers.[14] [15] Websites however have a much more difficult time and have to resort from moving around or getting hosted in countries that do not honor WIPO.

Lobbying Congress[edit]

The ESA has also been known to lobby congress in order to get laws passed that benefit the industry's copyright protection. According to a Bloomberg report, The Entertainment Software Association spent approximately $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2011 on lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. [16][17][18]

Gregory Boyd, chairman of the Interactive Entertainment Group at the New York law firm stated that “when it comes to lobbying, the "main industry group" that individual companies defer to is the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which spent $4.83 million on its own in 2012 — more than Facebook, Google, or even the National Rifle Association (NRA).[19]

List of ESA members and their subsidiaries[edit]

Members are listed as displayed on the official website of the ESA and is current as of January 16, 2015.[20]

As of May 23, 2008, Activision, Vivendi Games, LucasArts and id Software have discontinued membership in the ESA.[21][22][23]

As of October 9, 2008, Codemasters has also discontinued its membership in the ESA.[24]

As of March 2015, Sega of America and Daybreak Game Company (Formerly Sony Online Entertainment) have discontinued membership in the ESA.


  1. ^ Nonprofit Report for ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE ASSOCIATION. Guidestar.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  2. ^ The Entertainment Software Association - Contact Us. Theesa.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  3. ^ The Entertainment Software Association - Become an ESA Member. Theesa.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  4. ^ Illinois Ordered to Pay ESA Half Million by Daemon Hatfield, IGN Entertainment, 2006-08-10
  5. ^ Rumor:ESA President is Quitting by Brian Crecente, Kotaku, 2006-12-14
  6. ^ ESA selects new president by Brendan Sinclair, GameSpot, 2007-05-17
  7. ^ ESA Altered Wikipedia Entries on Mod Chips, Abandonware GamePolitics, 2007-08-18
  8. ^ microvcclub.com SOPA controversy creates rival to game industry group ESA; LFG aims to be “the NRA for gamers"
  9. ^ allvoices.com SOPA controversy creates rival to game industry group ESA; LFG aims to be “the NRA for gamers”
  10. ^ venturebeat.com SOPA controversy creates rival to game industry group ESA; LFG aims to be “the NRA for gamers”
  11. ^ leagueforgamers.org Official LFG Website
  12. ^ Chillingeffects DMCA ISP Notific
  13. ^ Slashdot ESA Following RIAA?
  14. ^ How-To Geek Protecting Your Privacy
  15. ^ TechSpot Managing your Privacy Online
  16. ^ GamePolitics ESA Spent $1.1 Million in Q1 for Lobbying
  17. ^ TGDaily ESA spent $1.1M on lobbying fees
  18. ^ Gamasutra ESA Spent Record $4.2 Million Lobbying In 2008
  19. ^ [1] LeJacq, Yannick. "'Call of Duty' maker gears up against 'violent video games' bill." Nbcnews. N.p., 01 05 2014. Web. 4 May 2014.
  20. ^ The ESA Members Official Website Archived January 16, 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Breaking: Activision and Vivendi discontinue ESA membership - Joystiq
  22. ^ Breaking: LucasArts leaves the ESA [update] - Joystiq
  23. ^ BREAKING: id Software Leaves ESA | GamePolitics
  24. ^ Is Codemasters the Latest Publisher to Bail on the ESA? | GamePolitics

External links[edit]