The Entertainment Consumer Association today celebrates 24 months of consumer advocacy on behalf of gamers nationwide. The ECA was actually formed back in July of 2006 by industry veteran and former president of the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association Hal Halpin, but I guess they were just dicking around for those first couple of months. Over the past two years the ECA has been sticking their noses everywhere on our behalf, from fair use to violent game studies, piracy to government video game legislation, with varying degrees of effectiveness. It's kind of nice to have them there. Along with a lengthy list of everything they've accomplished over the past couple of years, the ECA used some of their press release space to announce the eventual availability of membership cards online via Walmart.com and Amazon.com,along with a partnership with MMO service provider K2 Network to help raise awareness of their various services, and indeed their very existence. Hit the jump to see what the ECA has done for you while you weren't looking.Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) Celebrates Two Years of Video Game Consumer Advocacy ECA Continues to Defend Consumers' Rights Through Formation of New Strategic Partnerships and an Unprecedented Level of Consumer Visibility WILTON, Conn.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), the consumer rights advocacy group dedicated to providing passionate gamers a voice, is today celebrating twenty-four months of serving the evolving needs of individuals who play computer and video games. In the two years since its inception, this flagship organization has established a solid foundation focusing its advocacy efforts on a variety of consumer rights issues, anti-games legislation, and a host of other public policy concerns. The organization simultaneously provides substantial community and affinity benefits to its ever-increasing dedicated and proactive members. Through these efforts, the ECA has also forged strategic alliances with other influential non-profits, and well-established endemic and non-endemic corporations including video game publishers, developers, retailers, and trade media. In the months and years to come, the ECA intends to not only expand upon quality programs in place for its members, but will continually spearhead new initiatives and services, beginning with three new solid partnerships to increase the ECA's visibility, outreach and accessibility to gaming consumers. The organization today announced two new partnerships with retail giants Walmart and Amazon to sell ECA membership cards online at Walmart.com, and Amazon.com. The ECA also announced a significant collaboration with K2 Network, the leading MMO service provider in the Western Hemisphere, to drive awareness of video game advocacy and the ECA's services to the 23 million K2 members representing over 160 countries. Additional merchant partners will be announced at a later date. "In just over two years, the ECA has brought together a politically charged videogame community united to rally against efforts singling out videogames from the First Amendment protections enjoyed by other forms of entertainment," said ECA founder and president, Hal Halpin. "We are humbled by the strength of what a unified consumer voice can accomplish, and challenge gamers everywhere to empower themselves and their communities by becoming more educated, active and involved, and leveraging the ECA's services as a platform to rise against unjust legislation and ignorance." Some highlights of what the ECA has been involved in and accomplished to date, include the following: The ECA and Advocacy: The ECA has made great strides in legislation, building productive relationships and joining coalition partnerships with other established non-profit and public interest organizations, such as the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Rock the Vote, Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), Verizon, Connected Nation, Free Press, International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and many others, who have embraced its mission. Under the ECA, independent topical groups are established for members to stand behind their most pertinent issues and actively outreach to form partnerships with other non-profit and corporate entities in support of their topics. These groups rally around such issues as video game violence legislation, Fair use – as it relates to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), e-waste, net neutrality, video game tax, universal broadband, parental empowerment, the regulation of video games, and more. The ECA and Affinity Benefits: ECA membership goes beyond advocacy, and is dedicated to providing substantial community and affinity benefits to its members. With membership, entertainment consumers can connect with others, stay on top of industry issues and events, explore career and educational opportunities in gaming, and voice their feedback on issues and products. Current initiatives with a continually expanding list of partners, including recently announced support from: Activision Blizzard, Alienware/Dell, G8 Clothing, GameFly, Game Informer Magazine, iGames, K2 Network, Nos Energy Drink, Philips/Ambix, Red Lion, and dozens more – in addition to all of the major consumer and trade shows, conferences and events. The organization also actively supports students and the military with discounted annual memberships of just $14.99. These partnerships enable the ECA to provide members with substantial discounts and savings. The ECA and Education: The ECA has made it a priority to partner with the major enthusiast media outlets in order to address the single greatest ongoing challenge: the education of members, the industry and the general public. The association also has created and/or partnered with other properties whose mission and readership parallels their own. GamePolitics.com, is a politically-oriented news and opinions web site addressing politics, legislation and the way in which games and gamers relate to the legal system. GameJobs.com provides comprehensive gaming industry job listings, resume writing help and online database and tools for gamers interested in attaining or furthering a career in video games. GameCulture.com delivers news, commentary and features on video games, technology and the ways in which gamers and gaming has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on culture. VideogameYellowPages.com links members to companies involved in all aspects of the interactive entertainment business and acts as a catch-all directory and repository. Additionally, the fast-growing ECA Today, the nightly newsletter which is distributed to all members free of charge, keeps readers informed on the most interesting and relevant games-related news of the day. The ECA and Community: The ECA is rapidly broadening its reach through an expansive national network of regional chapters powered by local gaming communities and college campuses across the country. They adopt the collective goal of educating on political issues directly affecting the interactive entertainment industry, connecting consumers with like-minded gamers in their area, and offering access to a larger professional network for career and educational opportunities within the gaming industry. The ECA will continue to empower these regional chapters, helping them focus on broadening the ECA's mission – giving gamers a voice – by providing support tools and training seminars for chapter presidents and members on how to engage with their local, state and federal officials on issues that matter to gamers. Additionally, the ECA went international this year with the inclusion of representation of Canadian gamers. Since the announcement this past summer, ECA has increased both its membership and chapter count and undertaken efforts to include Canadian-specific affinity benefits, services and discounts. For more information on the ECA and to sign up for membership, please visit: www.theeca.com.
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