Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz at a recent EA Canada event, EA's Vice President of Corporate Communications, Jeff Brown, said the ESA would have to make a strong effort to demonstrate its worth to the remaining members of the organization, something it has failed to do thus far.
"I think having [Activision and Vivendi] pull out of the ESA reflects an unfortunate lack of leadership," Brown said. Nevertheless, he added that the best way to serve consumers' interests is through a "consensus" in the industry, presumably through ESA membership, and affirmed EA's commitment to the organization.
"They're a big company and we feel that when you're a big company, you've got a responsibility to consumers to work on policy issues which are very, very important to consumers. And the best way to do that is with an industry consensus. That's the way it's been done with the ESA in the U.S., and with ELSPA in the U.K.," he said. "There's always tension inside these organizations, but for the most part it works. So it was sad to see them step away from that responsibility."
Brown said he hoped no other members left the association, but placed responsibility for ensuring that doesn't happen with the ESA itself. "I think that the onus is on the ESA to prove that membership in it is good for the company and good for consumers," he said. "And I think we're going to see the ESA redouble its efforts to prove that."
Activision and Vivendi Games announced their departure from the ESA earlier in May, while LucasArts confirmed its own split with the trade group last week. None of the three companies have given reasons for leaving the association, but speculation has focused on dissatisfaction with the leadership of current ESA President Michael Gallagher.