Activision and Vivendi leave the ESA

Just recently Activision announced that they would not be attending E3 this year but would be holding their own side event to show off their own games. Strange actions, but understandable since the very idea of E3 is stuck somewhere in limbo with no one knowing what the shows exact direction is. Still, there wasn’t much of a clue as to why Activision had decided to do it. That is until now. After the announcement, it was discovered that Activision and Vivendi, who will soon be merging to create Activision Blizzard, were no longer listed on the Entertainment Software Association’s website as members. The ESA is the industry’s trade association and runs E3, not to mention plenty of other huge industry events and the ESRB.

But this news holds far greater ramifications than just Activision being a no show at E3. The ESA is the representative of almost all the major gaming companies and having Activision, one of the biggest gaming companies out there, leave is a pretty big blow to a group that has been hearing murmurs of dissension for a while now over ESRB ratings and the public face of gaming. The actual reasons for Activision’s departure are unknown at the moment as is whether or not any other companies will be departing with them. With or without other companies leaving this must be a big setback for the ESA, both monetarily and in terms of their reputation. We could be looking at a major industry shake up here.

Both the ESA and Activision have now released statements on the matter with Rich Taylor, ESA’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Research, saying: “While the Entertainment Software Association remains the preeminent voice for U.S. computer and video game publishers, we can confirm that Activision and Vivendi Games opted to discontinue their membership.

“The ESA remains dedicated to advancing our industry‚Äôs objectives such as protecting intellectual property, preserving First Amendment rights, and fostering a beneficial environment for the entire industry. Our high level of service and value to members and the larger industry remains unchanged.”

And Activision commenting on the situation with this statement: “After careful consideration, Activision has decided not to renew its ESA membership for business reasons and will not be participating in any official E3 activities. We appreciate the work that the ESA has done over the years in promoting the interactive entertainment industry with state and federal governments and wish the ESA best of luck with the show.”

What do you think? Is this a one company thing that will be forgotten in a month or are we truly looking at the downfall of the ESA?