Last year, you couldn't switch on a computer without hearing about some publisher or another leaving the Entertainment Software Association, organisers of the industry's biggest expo, E3. Turns out they had a good reason.

A few weeks ago, the ESA submitted its annual accounts to the IRS. And buried within those reports is some interesting reading. See, as E3 shrank in both size and significance, the amount of money the ESA made from the show shrank accordingly, down from nearly $19 million in 2006 to under $4 million in 2007. That's a big hole in the group's accounts.


So they decided to make up the shortfall by hiking membership fees. In 2006, the ESA collected just over $1 million in membership fees. In 2007, they collected $4.47 million. In 2008, they collected $17.41 million. To put that in perspective, that means over a two-year period, membership fees for the group jumped 1700%.

1700% isn't "oh, that's OK, here's a couple more dollars" territory. It's, as we saw, "screw this jerktown" territory.

ESA fees jumped 1,700% from '06-'08 [GameSpot]