The September Issue of Game Informer Examines Net Neutrality

September 1, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Net Neutrality gets some much needed love in the September 2014 issue of Game Informer. Game Informer is the number one gaming magazine in the United States, so it's good to see it taking a closer look at how fast lanes, data caps, and general discrimination of traffic by ISPs can affect everyday consumers.

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Guest Editorial: Own v. Rent

June 11, 2013 -

Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin offers his insights on video game ownership - a topic that has caused cheers for Sony and jeers for Microsoft at E3 in Los Angeles this week.

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Video: Curry College Panel Discusses Violence, Sexism, and the Future of Gaming

April 2, 2013 -

If you weren't able to attend the Curry College event a few weeks ago (it took place a day before PAX East in Cambridge Mass.) called "Video Gaming Panel Discusses Violence, Sexism and the Future of Gaming" then you can check out the video to your left or by visiting this link.

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PSA: 'From PAX East to Curry College' Panel Tonight

March 20, 2013 -

Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin will take part in a panel this evening at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts called "From PAX East to Curry College: What's Next for Video Gaming?." He'll be joined by Jen MacLean, former Chief Executive Officer of 38 Studios; Dr.

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The ECA Issues Statement on the Tragic School Shootings in Newtown, Connecticut

December 17, 2012 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association has issued a statement today on the tragic shooting on Friday, Dec. 14 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT that resulted in the death of 20 children, six adults at the school, the shooter and his mother.

You can read the entire statement below:

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Jack Thompson to ECA: 'Maybe Now You'll Get It!'

December 17, 2012 -

Disbarred Florida Attorney and anti-game crusader Jack Thompson seems to have come out of hiding to talk about the as-of-yet unestablished link between video media and the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. In an attempt to connect with the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), Thompson decided to leave a voice mail message for ECA President Hal Halpin. The roughly 35 second-long message from Thompson is equivalent to an "I-told-you-so" to Halpin, gamers, and the non-profit.

Memo.mp3
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ECA's Hal Halpin on the 'Decline' of the Gaming Population

September 7, 2012 -

Yesterday NPD released a report that said that, in the last year, the number of gamers had declined by about five percent. The research firm's report ("Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers") found that 211.5 million people in the U.S. played games, about 12 million fewer than were counted in 2011.

While many accepted the numbers, not everyone agrees with them.

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Destructoid's Fireside Chat With ECA President Hal Halpin

May 1, 2012 -

Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin talks to Destructoid about SOPA, PIPA, the importance of advocacy, his thoughts on the VGVN and League for Gamers, Kickstarter, what the gamer advocacy group has planned going forward, and much more.

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ECA President Hal Halpin Talks CISPA and More at Destructoid

April 27, 2012 -

Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) president Hal Halpin recently sat down with Destructoid to talk about the dangers consumers face at the hands of corporate interests and by politicians creating new regulations and laws that stifle free speech and invade our privacy. We'll update our story later when the full interview goes live, but this quote from Halpin deals specifically with the issue of CISPA and laws like it:

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Hal Halpin Talks SOPA with Electric Playground

January 26, 2012 -

Electric Playground recently caught up with Hal Halpin, President and founder of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), to talk about the online battle to stop the passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Halpin talks about how the online protest last week slowed down the momentum of both SOPA and PIPA, and why these bills aren't quite dead yet.

Check out the video to your left.

[Full Disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]

3 comments

Hal Halpin Guest Stars on Pro Gaming Insider Podcast

August 3, 2011 -

Hal Halpin, President of the Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) will be a guest on the Pro Gaming Insider podcast to discuss the ramifications of the U.S. Senate's anti-streaming bill (also known as Bill S.978). Bill S.978 is a bill to "amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes." Gamers, YouTube users and Netflix subscribers will want to pay particular attention to this bill because it changes the law to make it a felony to stream content a certain number of times to other parties.

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ECA’s Hal Halpin Dishes on Anti-Streaming Bill

July 7, 2011 -

In an interview with Destructoid, ECA big cheese Hal Halpin discusses why gamers should worry about S.978, a bill that would make streaming copyrighted material a felony.

“I understand the intent that the legislators and trade associations have with the bill,” said Halpin, “but it’s so broad that it casts a very wide net, including people who innocently post video captures of their gameplay! Alone, that represents a huge community of people.”

“This bill, as written, will apply to anyone who plays and posts their gameplay online, which is a huge percentage of gamers. It could also apply to pro gamers who stream their gameplay for fans as easily as it applies to companies whose entire existence relies on streaming technology (i.e. Steam, Netflix, Gamefly/D2D, Major League Gaming, EA/Origin, OnLive and Gaikai, etc.).”

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ECA Thanks Legal Team for Brown v. EMA 'Team Effort'

July 1, 2011 -

The Entertainment Consumer Association issued a statement this week thanking its legal team and other individuals that helped prepare the amicus brief and the consumer petition that was submitted to the Supreme Court in November in support of the EMA's side of Brown v. EMA. The group thanked gamers and ECA members that took the time to sign the petition, legal teams that wrote the amicus brief and its various legal advisors that put everything together. Full statement below:

"As many of you know, earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court held in favor of the Entertainment Merchants Association in Brown v EMA, the so-called “violent video games” case. This is a huge achievement for all involved, especially Paul Smith of Jenner & Block.

ECA would again like to thank all of its members and the general public who signed the Consumer Petition. We would also like to thank and congratulate our partners in the Consumers Amicus Brief:

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Supreme Court Predictions

June 6, 2011 -

Entertainment Consumer Association president Hal Halpin offers his personal (note: not ours) opinion on the timing of the Brown v EMA (formerly Schwarzenegger v EMA) Supreme Court decision over at IGN. There has been much speculation that a decision will be released this week, and Halpin has his own predictions about it:

"Despite law maker Leland Yee’s prognostications, no one really knows when we’ll get the answer, but my money is on this Thursday.

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Students, U.S. Soldiers Get $1 ECA Membership

February 17, 2011 -

The Entertainment Consumer Association announced today that students and U.S. military personnel may sign up to be a member of the consumer advocacy group for $1. To qualify, all you need is a valid .edu or .mil email address. With that $1 fee these members will receive affinity benefits, educational resources, and advocacy efforts that are provided to all ECA members.

 

You can sign up for the ECA here.

The full press release can be found below (disclaimer: GamePolitics is an ECA publication):

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Sex in Games Leads to Real-World Rape and Other Ridiculousness

February 8, 2011 -

Boy oh boy, do I have a treat for you today.

FoxNews has posted an article examining the violent and sexual content of the upcoming Bulletstorm and I’m happy to report that it’s the most entertainingly sensationalistic tripe I’ve read in quite a while.

Bulletstorm is an M-rated shooter due out later this month from Epic Games.  Aside from copious profanity and over-the-top violence, one of its notable features is its in-game awards system, Skill Shots.  Basically, you get funny-titled awards for dispatching your enemies in unique and gruesome ways.  Here’s how the ESRB describes it:

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ECA SCOTUS Rally Scenes

November 2, 2010 -

Hal Halpin and several members of the Entertainment Consumer Association are on location at the steps of the Supreme Court this morning to support the game industry side of Schwarzenegger vs. Entertainment Merchants Association. Many members of the ECA are there (gamers!) showing their support with signs, chanting, and other displays of positivity. Below you can check out a few photos (click on the thumbnails for a better look).

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ECA Uses Twitter for SCOTUS Petition Effort

September 15, 2010 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has sent an email blast out to it database of readers encouraging them to use Twitter to get their followers to speak up and sign the Gamer Petition that will be sent to the U.S. Supreme Court before it is to decide the California case on violent games.

An email from Brett Schenker, the ECA's online advocacy manager:

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Parents' Group: 72 percent Support Game Bill

September 13, 2010 -

A parents' group cites a recent Zogby poll to back up its claim that adults are firmly against the sale of ultra-violent video games to minors.

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, said a poll of 2100 adults showed that 65 percent of parents are "concerned about the impact of ultra-violent video games on their kids" and 75 percent of parents have a negative view of what the games industry is doing to safeguard minors from violent games, according to an article in Gamasutra.

The group's conclusion is that 72 percent of parents support California's violent video game legislation, which is coming up for consideration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer:

"What we've learned from this poll is that parents want to be the ones who decide which games their kids play, not the video game industry.

Hal Halpin, head of the Entertainment Consumer Association, said:

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PAX 2010 Entertainment Consumers Association Panel

September 7, 2010 -

During PAX in Seattle, Wa. last week Entertainment Consumer Association President Hal Halpin sat down with G4TV's Adam Sessler for an hour to discuss a number of topics such as the ramifications of the upcoming Supreme Court case in November, why it is important that everyone sign the ECA's petition and the general state of the game industry.

If you haven't fully grasped how serious the upcoming Supreme Court hearing is and what ramifications it could have on the game industry and gamers, you should watch this video on G4TV.com and find out, because it's pretty scary.

[Game Politics is a publication of the ECA.]

1 comment

ECA Prez Takes to PlayStation Blog to Seek Petition Support

July 16, 2010 -

Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin was given the opportunity to make a post on Sony’s PlayStation blog in order to talk about why Schwarzenegger v EMA should matter to American gamers and to urge them to sign the ECA’s Gamer Petition.

Halpin began by stating, “At stake: gaming in America. Yes, you read that correctly.” He continued:

In the time since the Court’s announcement there has been a lot of media coverage, both from the enthusiast outlets and the national press. A disturbing theme that you’d find too often in the consumer comments is one of apathy. Perhaps it arose from winning in each of the violence in video game cases. Maybe because, from our perspective, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that we could lose — the logic seems pretty obvious.

ECA Prez on Schwarzenegger vs. EMA

June 28, 2010 -

The Escapist’s Russ Pitts met up with Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin at this year’s E3 Expo for a discussion of the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case, which has ended up in front of the Supreme Court.

After stating that a loss in the case could be “staggering and widespread,” in terms of its impact on gamers, Halpin was asked to describe the what's at stake in “broad strokes.”

He answered:

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ECA on SCOTUS Game Law Review: No Exaggeration, Medium Itself Is at Stake

May 25, 2010 -

Sister publication GameCulture recently sat down with Entertainment Consumer Association president Hal Halpin to discuss the serious ramifications of the Supreme Court's planned review of California's violent videogame law later this year. The lead-in to that interview follows below:

"Sometime later this year or early next, the Supreme Court will review EMA v. Schwarzenegger, California's violent videogame law. The law, which would have made it illegal to sell games the state found "excessively" violent to minors, was struck down by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court in 2009. A few weeks ago the Entertainment Consumers Association announced that it will be filing an amicus brief with the high court. GameCulture asked ECA president Hal Halpin about the case, its importance and the role of gamers in what will certainly become a landmark of videogame (and possibly constitutional) law."

Read the entire interview at GameCulture now.

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ECA Statement

December 2, 2009 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued a statement in response to an article posted on the Consumerist blog today, which alleged that canceling membership in the organization was difficult and overcomplicated.

GamePolitics is a publication of the ECA.

The response, from the President of the ECA, Hal Halpin, is unedited and after the jump:

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Why Do Games Cost $60? Who Knows?

September 24, 2009 -

You walk into a game store to pick up the latest AAA title, be it for a console or PC, and you are probably going to pay in the neighborhood of $60, unless, of course you get Rock-Band-like peripherals with your order.

Have you ever given any thought as to what goes into that price point? David Thomas over at Crispy Gamer did, and came up with an interesting analysis, examining possible reasons such as reasonable greed, consumer stupidity or evil conspiracy. He quotes a few industry officials, including the ECA's Hal Halpin:

"I'm not sure that we'll see a standard $70 price point at all," observes Halpin. "To my mind, emerging technologies, subscriptions and episodic and downloadable content should all enable price drops -- increasing accessibility to a much wider audience. Free-to-play, ad-supported models, too, diversify the price landscape."

Definitely an interesting read. What is your perspective? Will prices ever come down?

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ECA President Hal Halpin on Dennis McCauley

September 14, 2009 -

While we were sad to hear that Dennis had chosen to move on, we are grateful for the partnership that was built and the talents which he brought to the organization. In a relatively brief period of time, GamePolitics has become an important resource for the gaming community – and educational tool for disseminating information and keeping gamers aware, and a valuable and timely news publication and blog.

Careful not to step on the toes of our endemic media partners and managing the balance between Church and State – regarding editorial independence – were challenges that Dennis took on with skill and ease. From breaking the ‘Hot Coffee’ scandal, to regular and persistent issues related to Jack Thompson, Dennis was a talented journalist and his contributions to the publication and to the association will be missed.

On behalf of the ECA members and GP readers alike, our heartfelt thanks and sincere best wishes, Dennis.

– Hal Halpin, pres., ECA.

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22 comments

ECA's Halpin Weighs in on Universal Ratings

September 1, 2009 -

Late last week the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would look into the potential for a universal content rating system to span various forms of media.

Hal Halpin (left), president of the Entertainment Consumers Association, has now weighed in on the topic:

Like the respective trade associations which represent the entertainment industry’s various media, we were surprised to hear of the FCC’s interest in exploring the possibility of a universal ratings system. It is odd that video and movies were not included, which would have then been encompassing and more valuable to consumers, in theory.

 

As for if the ECA is in favor of such an endeavor, it would be too early to speculate, not knowing anything more than the cursory details. Our position remains that we fully support the ESRB and believe it to be an important component in the product purchasing process.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

6 comments

ECA's Halpin Elaborates on Letter Writing Campaign to President Obama

July 30, 2009 -

On Monday, GamePolitics reported that the Entertainment Consumers Association had embarked on a campaign to inform President Barack Obama about the many benefits that video games can provide.

The ECA undertook the campaign following Obama's recent admonition to "put away the Xbox." Over the last few years Obama has often referred to games as something to be set aside in favor of a greater good.

The ECA initiative received wide coverage in the gaming press. In a lengthy interview with The Grumbly Gamer, ECA President Hal Halpin elaborates on why the game consumers' group decided t take its case to the White House:

We [at ECA] had discussed addressing the President’s “put the video games away” aspect of his speeches several times, actually. At issue is the fact that we agree fully with what he’s saying in principle. Parents need to be more involved with what their kids are doing. They need to be more engaged and focus on understanding what media their kids are ingesting. They need to use the ratings systems as a benchmark – and it’s a great first step – but they should really take the few minutes to participate in that media actively.

 

I also agree that kids get far too much screen time, be it movies, TV, cell phones, the Internet, or computer and video games. So we hesitated a few times, hoping that some other form of screen time would be included as the example. But each time the speech was recycled, we waited with bated breath…and were disappointed that the focus remained on gaming and gamers. It began reinforcing the negative stereotype and was compounded by the media interpreting and reinterpreting his meaning. So we had to act.

 

A campaign is precisely the way to let the White House, and by extension everyone else, understand that gamers are tired of the mislabeling of both gaming and of gamers. By giving folks the access to our online advocacy tools, they can take the 30 seconds and make their voices heard. It’s fast, easy and free. You don’t need to be an ECA member. Just someone who wants gaming to be treated with the respect that other forms of media enjoy.

The ECA's online campaign referred to write to President Obama may be found here.

FULL DISCLOSURE: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

3 comments

ECA's Halpin: Gamers Must Fight Negative Stereotypes

July 20, 2009 -

Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin debuts a new column for Industry Gamers with a look at negative stereotypes of gamers and how such prejudice can be addressed.

Halpin writes:

Combating the negative stereotypes the gaming industry and gamers themselves face is becoming a daunting task. We’ve allowed people to equate gaming with everything from laziness to isolationism and antisocial behavior, when so clearly it’s the opposite.

 

Because we’ve permitted everyone from anti-games advocates (disbarred attorneys included) to the President of the United States of America to perpetuate those fallacies and said and done nothing, we need to take ownership of at least part of that blame; until and unless we speak up and do something about it. It’s time.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

53 comments

ECA's Hal Halpin Comments on California Appeal of Violent Video Game Law to US Supreme Court

May 20, 2009 -

Reactions continue to come in following today's decision by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to appeal a pair of federal court rulings which previously held that the state's 2005 violent video game law is unconstitutional.

Hal Halpin, President of the Entertainment Consumers Association, issued a statement moments ago on the California appeal:

I was disheartened to hear that Governor Schwarzenegger is petitioning the Supreme Court over labeling and sales of video games, especially given the fact that nine similar pieces of legislation have been overturned on First Amendment grounds, costing the respective cities and states much-needed taxpayer funds.

 

Coupled with California’s $21B economic crisis and the fact that the Governor is about to lay off teachers en masse, it’s shocking to the conscience. This was a frivolous political football back when the state had money to burn. Now it’s out-and-out irresponsibly politicized.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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Will the New Nintendo 3DS be region free?:

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prh99I would be shocked if Nintendo said it was region free, or even made it optional like XBox 360 for that matter.09/02/2014 - 7:22pm
Matthew WilsonI should say the recent past.09/02/2014 - 6:58pm
Matthew Wilsongiven their past, I do not blame people for thinking they will not change. I think they will keep region locking too.09/02/2014 - 6:48pm
E. Zachary KnightMan. People have no confidence in Nintendo regarding region locking the New 3DS.09/02/2014 - 6:20pm
Andrew EisenThat doesn't mean there has to be a movie though. Having said that, I've no doubt that we will eventually get a Black Panther movie. But Stan Lee will probably learn about it around the same time you and I do.09/02/2014 - 2:34pm
MaskedPixelanteWell they have to get to him eventually. Captain America's shield didn't grow on a tree, the minerals to make it had to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is Wakanda.09/02/2014 - 2:31pm
E. Zachary KnightYes, but it has never been confirmed as in development, or even pre-production.09/02/2014 - 2:21pm
MaskedPixelanteBlack Panther's been on the short list for a while.09/02/2014 - 2:18pm
E. Zachary KnightIt is possible that Stan Lee mispoke. I don't think he knows everything Marvel movies. But it is a sweet idea if true.09/02/2014 - 2:04pm
Andrew EisenSo says Stan Lee who almost certainly wouldn't know.09/02/2014 - 2:04pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.cinemablend.com/new/Marvel-Black-Panther-Movie-Confirmed-By-Stan-Lee-66993.html Black Panther is apparently getting a movie. And maybe one for Black Widow, even though I think it's too late for her.09/02/2014 - 1:53pm
Cheater87Look what FINALLY came to Australia uncut! http://www.gamespot.com/articles/left-4-dead-2-gets-reclassified-in-australia/1100-6422038/09/02/2014 - 6:49am
Andrew EisenHence the "Uh, yeah. Obviously."09/02/2014 - 12:53am
SleakerI think Nintendo has proven over the last 2 years that it doesn't.09/02/2014 - 12:31am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
 

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