For today's Gamasutra feature
, we talk with Hal Halpin, head of the Entertainment Consumer Association. The ECA, founded just this year, is the first consumer advocacy group to ever give game players a political voice. In this extensive Gamasutra interview, we get a broader sense of the group's scope, benefits, and overall need.
For Halpin, who is modelling the ECA on similar membership organizations like moveon.org and the AARP, the idea for the foundation of the group comes as a direct response to recent tidal shifts in legislative efforts, as he explains in this excerpt:
"GS: What if anything is the ECA a direct response to? Is there one incident that really inspired you, that made you say, 'You know what, there's a need for this?'
HH: To me there is. I'm not sure that it's there yet for consumers, so we might be out ahead of the curve in terms of them being aware of the legislation or the impending doom from legislators. From our perspective, at least from mine, I noticed last year that the state-level guys started moving away from targeting retailers, and trying to haul them off for selling M-rated games, to targeting consumers. And, you know, kids being hauled off at 17 years of age for buying an M-rated game, especially when the industry is doing so much to inhibit that process, it's going from a misdemeanor to a formal felony to going on their record and inhibiting their ability to get loans or scholarships or any of those sorts of things. It's just insane. And so, to me, that was the call."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the topic
including much more on the benefits and efforts behind the ECA, and its recent acquisition of legislative news site GamePolitics (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).