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ECA: The ESA is "viable" and "really needed"

ECA president Hal Halpin backs his counterparts at the under-fire US trade body

The Entertainment Consumer Association's president and founder, Hap Halpin, has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes the Entertainment Software Association is "still very viable" and "really needed" in the US market.

That's despite comments made prior to E3 by the ESA's director of communications, Dan Hewitt, which labelled the ECA-owned news site GamePolitics "tainted with anti-ESA vitriol" and "as laughable as saying there's a Cuban free press."

But Halpin was quick to play down the spat as the result of "a month or two of frustration" and instead argued that the ESA had an important role to play.

"I would say that the ESA is still very viable and the association is really needed," he said. "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. They have some really big challenges ahead of them and it's a difficult time, so the show will probably be one of the things that the current membership is looking at in terms of value proposition."

And he also expressed his surprise that the argument over GamePolitics gained as much attention as it did.

"I was actually really surprised by the level of coverage - even international coverage - that it received," he explained. "What I would attribute it to is that 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," he added.

The full GamesIndustry.biz interview with Hal Halpin, in which he also talks about the political challenges facing the US market and the future of second-hand game sales, is available now.

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Phil Elliott avatar

Phil Elliott