I Told You So: Activision's ESA Withdrawal Edition

Today Ben Fritz ran a "revealing" interview about why Activision withdrew from The ESA. In his post, he quotes Bobby Kotick as saying:
I said don't view [pulling out of ESA] as anything but time off... With the combined companies [from the merger with Vivendi], the [ESA membership] dues went up enough that I said for it to make sense [to spend that money], we have to make a strategic plan. We don't have that because nobody owns it for us right now.
We have our own issues that are not the industry's issues. Our challenges are sufficiently different from other publishers' issues that we need our own point person. We'll have someone soon.

I appreciate Ben's efforts, but isn't this exactly everything I wrote on May 6 in my earlier post on the subject (bad grammar and all - I really have to proof read better)
If you think about the company as an organization, the answer is more than clear. Activision is one of the most bottom line oriented companies in the business. They do not spend money which does not have to be spent. Activision’s official statement was:
“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.”

This cigar is just a cigar. They simply did not want to pay the fee. ESA membership fees are based on revenue. The soon to be largest publisher in the world will be paying more than anyone else, and it did not sound like fun. As far as the impact on lobbying,. . . not so much. Activision, which historically has not lobbied directly, can pay a portion of the money they would otherwise pay in membership fees and target their own issues. Litigation? Their withdrawal will not stop ESA’s efforts. Moreover, we have yet to see whether this action is truly a withdrawal, and not a negotiating posture to revise the fee structure has yet to be seen. If it is a withdrawal, it could signal the end of The ESA as we know it.

Thanks for the confirmation Ben.


Ben Fritz said…
Always happy to help you out, Keith!

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