The Boards of Directors of the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA) and the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) have voted to merge into a single trade association to represent the retailers and distributors of video and video game products. The announcement of the impending merger was made jointly today by VSDA Chairman Bob Geistman and IEMA Chairman Rick Vergara.
Both parties have been heavily involved in lobbying against U.S. State-specific violent game bills, which often include fines or conviction-related punishments for retailers who sell certain ESRB-rated games to minors, often producing official responses
in parallel, and jointly hired
Stuart Spencer as a lobbyist to represent their interests before Congress and other federal agencies in February.
The merger will bring together mass merchants, video rental stores, video game specialty retailers, online merchants, electronics retailers, entertainment combo stores, and others that retail and wholesale DVDs, console video games, and computer video games.
The combined trade association, whose name will be announced later, will provide its members with knowledge-sharing forums, networking opportunities, legislative and legal advocacy, research services, and other trade association offerings.
"This is a great development for both the video and video game industries," said IEMA Chairman Rick Vergara. "The merger will create a more efficient and influential organization to serve the needs of video and video game retailers and distributors. The interests of the membership of the two associations are so closely aligned that we expect a seamless integration."
"By coming together in one organization, the retailers and distributors of DVDs and video games will increase their collective power and benefit from the business acumen and product knowledge of one another," declared VSDA Chairman Bob Geistman. "We are convinced that one association can accomplish even more than two working separately."