Guess who’s back? Activision’s back! Back to E3, that is, a year after controversially dropping its ESA membership and declining to take part in the 2008 show.

The Entertainment Software Association announced today that Activision would be returning to the fold as an exhibitor at the 2009 E3, presumably drawn back by the show’s return to the high-intensity spectacle of years past. In 2007 and 2008, largely as a result of complaints from overwhelmed exhibitors, the ESA drastically scaled back E3, turning it from a four-day orgy of light and sound into a small, tightly-controlled press event and in the process emasculating what had been until then the world’s premiere videogaming show. The response to the changes was resoundingly negative, and for 2009 the ESA decided to bring back at least some of the extravagance that hallmarked earlier shows.

“The 2009 E3 Expo will be the preeminent North American computer and video game event,” ESA Chief Executive Michael Gallagher said in the announcement. “With robust exhibitor sales, high attendee interest, and strong commitments from multiple industry sectors, we are going to ensure the full excitement and energy of this industry is on display.”

Despite taking part in E3, however, Activision apparently hasn’t yet rejoined the ESA, nor has LucasArts, which also dropped its ESA membership in 2008 but still took part in E3 that year and will be returning in 2009. The exhibitors list is not yet finalized, but highlights include:

  • Activision Blizzard, Inc.
  • Atari, Inc.
  • Atlus U.S.A., Inc.
  • Bethesda Softworks LLC
  • Capcom Entertainment, Inc.
  • Disney Interactive Studios, Inc.
  • Eidos Interactive
  • Electronic Arts, Inc.
  • Epic Games, Inc.
  • 505 Games
  • IndieCade
  • KOEI Corporation
  • Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.
  • LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC
  • Majesco Entertainment Company
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Midway Games Inc.
  • MTV Games
  • Namco Bandai Games America Inc.
  • Nintendo of America, Inc.
  • Rebellion
  • Sega of America, Inc.
  • Serious Games
  • Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
  • Sony Online Entertainment LLC
  • Square Enix, Inc.
  • Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
  • THQ Inc.
  • Ubisoft Entertainment
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc.

Whether other high-profile ESA refugees like id Software, NCsoft and CodeMasters will take part in the 2009 show remains to be seen. The 2009 E3 Expo is set to take place June 2-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. More information, including a full exhibitors list, is available at

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