[B]What is the ECA?[/B]
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit advocacy organization established to serve the evolving needs of individuals who play computer and video games by giving their passion a voice. The ECA represents the interactive entertainment consumers who constitute nearly fifty percent of the US population and spend $10 billion annually on gaming, yet are continually overlooked by politicians and the mainstream press.
[B]What is the ECA's mission?[/B]
The primary mission of the ECA is to give gaming consumers a voice and ensure that state and local politicians hear their concerns and appreciate their demographic power. The ECA focuses its advocacy efforts on consumer rights, anti-games legislation, and a host of other public policy concerns as well as providing community and affinity benefits to its members.
[B]How and why did the ECA get started?[/B]
Gamers represent nearly 50% of the US population, yet their voices are rarely heard when it comes to anti-gaming legislation, censorship, or other critical issues that affect interactive entertainment consumers.
Game publishers and retailers have created industry organizations such as the ESA and the EMA to ensure that their voices are heard, but before the ECA there was no such organization to represent gaming consumers.
In 2006, Hal Halpin, the founder and former president of the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), realized that a parallel organization representing the needs of gaming consumers needed to be created. He hit on the idea of the ECA, and set about establishing a blueprint for a twenty-first century advocacy group. Read more about the ECA's history
[B]Who started the ECA?[/B]
ECA President and founder Hal Halpin has been a force in the interactive entertainment industry for fifteen years as an executive and entrepreneur. The founder of numerous influential publications and organizations, he is often called upon to represent the interactive entertainment industry as an ambassador at large.
Hal has a knack for creating organizations that help unite and move forward the interactive industry. He is well-known as the founder of the game industry's retail trade association, Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), which served the $10 billion video and computer game business and merged with the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) to form the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) in 2006. Read more about the ECA's President
[B]What does it mean to be an ECA member?[/B]
By joining the ECA, you can make your voice heard while taking advantage of exclusive ECA membership benefits. If you want to help take on the major issues confronting gaming consumers today-anti-gaming legislation, consumer rights, and more-lending your support to the ECA can make a real difference.
But ECA membership goes beyond our advocacy efforts. The ECA is dedicated to providing a wealth of community and affinity benefits to our members. With membership, you can connect with like-minded gaming fans, explore career and educational opportunities in gaming, and more. ECA membership can also provide discounts on magazines and subscriptions and save you money on purchases at affiliated retailers.
Supporting ECA means not only doing the right thing for gamers everywhere, it lets you save money on gaming purchases while joining a network of passionate interactive entertainment fans.
[B]What is the annual membership fee and why can't membership be free?[/B]
The annual dues for membership in the ECA is $19.99 per year for normal membership, and $14.99 for student members (with a valid dot edu domain extension). When we formed the organization we purposely chose to be independent and not beholden to the industry. By not accepting funding from the trade, and instead receiving our income from members only, we are afforded the opportunities and take on the challenges that we deem fit - without another group dictating or imposing. Additionally, we see ourselves as a grass roots organization; founded, managed, run and funded by game consumers, without the positive or negative influence of the business. It may be that alternate underwriting solutions in the future allow us more flexibility going forward, but for now we believe it best to remain self-funded.
[B]What do I get for signing up?[/B]
Along with important advocacy benefits, the ECA provides community and affinity benefits to its members. In addition, the ECA works continually with our sponsors to offer the best possible package of rewards for new members in addition to the benefits members enjoy daily. To learn about the current membership incentives, visit our Incentives page.
[B]How do I sign up to be an ECA member?[/B]
If you're ready to take a stand for gamers, you can sign up right now to join the ECA.
[B]Where does the ECA get its funding – is the industry a source?[/B]
The ECA presently receives 100% of its funding through membership dues, and all of those revenues go to support the running of the organization. It is entirely possible that we will introduce new products/services going forward that would provide us advertising or underwriting income, but not at present. The ECA does not receive funding from the games industry and is not supported by the publishers. ECA is a grassroots org, meaning that we have no financial ties to the business.
[B]How large is the ECA staff and where are you headquartered?[/B]
The staff size will likely change over time (so this FAQ answer will be outdated shortly), but at present we have five full-time, four part-time, five consultants, and three retained service companies who support the org. The ECA was built as a web-based association, so in theory our physical location isn’t as important, but our headquarters are in Wilton, CT (about an hour outside of Manhattan).
[B]What do I get in terms of dollar value for my $19.99 dues?[/B]
The member benefits section really details it well, but our goal is to provide members with access to over $200.00 in goods and services, similar to how other membership organizations (i.e. AAA or AARP) try to overcome the value proposition challenge. As a member, you should be spending considerably less per year on goods and services because you’ll have access to them through us at a much cheaper/more compelling rate(s). The list is fairly long actually, so we’d re-direct you to the benefits page to see an updated schedule.
[B]I'm an ECA member but I can't remember my password. How can I log in?[/B]
If you've forgotten your password, go to this page and enter the e-mail address you used to register your ECA membership.
[B]How can I stay in touch with gaming advocacy issues and anti-gaming legislation?[/B]
You can get started by visiting our Grassroots Advocacy and Government Relations pages to start learning the issues confronting gamers today. By joining the ECA, you will get our weekly newsletter, which will keep you up to date on not only gaming advocacy issues but general gaming industry news as well.
[B]What should I do if I haven't yet received my membership card?[/B]
Your membership card means more to you than being a "card carrying member" of the ECA; many of the discounts and incentives that are and will be accessible to you as a paid member can only be accessed by providing that proof (e.g. hotel discounts). Generally it takes up to eight weeks to process, as they are manufactured by a third party and done in batches. If it has been longer than eight weeks since you signed up, and are sure that your membership dues were processed successfully, but have not yet received an ECA membership card, please email us at info (at) theECA (dot) com and we'll do our best to expedite one.
[B]How can I let the ECA know what I think?[/B]
If you have questions, feedback, or comments, please contact feedback(at)theeca(dot)com.
[B]I'm a member of the press. How can I get in touch with the ECA?[/B]
For press inquiries, please contact press(at)theeca(dot)com.
To reach the ECA by mail or phone/fax please contact us at the following address:
Entertainment Consumers Association
64 Danbury Road, Suite 700, Wilton, CT 06897-4406 USA
phone: +1 (203) 761-6180
fax: +1 (203) 761-6184