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ESA Spent Record $4.2 Million Lobbying In 2008
ESA Spent Record $4.2 Million Lobbying In 2008 Exclusive
January 26, 2009 | By Alex Litel

January 26, 2009 | By Alex Litel
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

The Entertainment Software Association spent a record $4,244,364.50 on federal lobbying in 2008, according to calculations based on quarterly lobbyist disclosure filings with the House Clerk's office obtained by Gamasutra.

In the fourth quarter, the industry trade group spent a total of $1,137,500, which breaks down to $980,000 on direct efforts and $157,000 for the services of four firms.

The Q4 spending is a $10,000 increase from Q3's $1,090,000, which is buttressed by a belated $37,500 filing to become $1,127,500.

The ESA's filing cites activity in both chambers of Congress on broadband deployment, online gaming governance and immigration issues, and throughout Washington at the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of State, National Security Council Patent & Trademark Office and other agencies on trade regulation, anti-piracy and patent modernization.

Filings for the three firms retained by the ESA—Smith-Free Group, Jenner & Block, and Telemedia Policy Group—reveal that their efforts were focused almost exclusively on Congress towards matters concerning the regulation of games themselves and perception towards ESRB ratings.

Another filing reveals that the ESA added the services of the Monumental Policy Group -- whose existing clientele includes Microsoft, IBM and Sybase. Monumental's quarterly disclosure filing shows the firm lobbied Congress and U.S. Customs and Border Protection on trade and copyright matters.

The ESA's spending increased 25.6 percent year-over-year, and although year-on-year quarterly comparisons are unable to be made, spending in the latter half-year saw a 36.1 percent increase.

[UPDATE: Figure updated, recalculated minorly.]

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Mike Lopez
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I am sure lobbyists have a place but I think the ESA should also focus on educating the public about how mainstream games have become and with studies that refute the common fears, clarify the modern demographics and demonstrate the benefits.

Most of the public does not realize that the average game player is in their late 30s now, or that more than 50 % of new console gamers (mostly Wii) are women. It is the responsibility of the ESA to dispel the myths and propagate the reality through education.

Christophe Maire
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i would love to see these lobbyist performance metrics:)

Jonathan Pynn
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Interesting I wouldn't have thought there was that much the software industry would have to lobby about. Turns out I am 4 million dollars wrong.