The latest publisher to duck out in a string of recent departures from the Entertainment Software Association was reported last night to be Crave Entertainment, publisher of titles including Brunswick Pro Bowling and Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift 2. Today, the ESA has confirmed Crave's exit with an official statement.
"We can confirm that Crave has decided not to renew its membership in the ESA," said Rich Taylor, the ESA's senior VP of communications and research. "We value each member of our association, but respect their decision. In conversations with Crave, representatives stated that they value their longstanding membership with the ESA and remain committed to the values and goals of the association."
Crave becomes the fifth publisher to leave the association, now down to 24 member companies. Activision and Vivendi broke ties with the ESA in a highly-publicized exit, and LucasArts and id soon followed. Speculation holds that the rising cost of membership dues might have played a role in these departures, after the ESA spent $5 million dollars to move E3 last year, while displeasure with the ESA's current leadership and a debate over the necessity of E3 have also been rumored to play a role.
We've contacted Crave, and have yet to receive comment.