On January 17, the Oculus Store implemented the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system for assigning age and content ratings to its virtual reality (VR) products.
On January 19, ESA and the NPD Group announced that the US video game industry generated $30.4 billion in revenue for 2016—a six percent increase in consumer spending on software.
On January 20, Inauguration Day, ESA hosted a pre-ball reception at ESA headquarters. Congressional staffers, trade association heads, and senior executives attended the event.
On January 20, ESA sponsored a challenge for the annual Global Game Jam that encouraged developers to build innovative new accessibility features into their games.
On January 30, the ESA Foundation announced its 2017 grantees – Bootstrap, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Extra Life, iCivics, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Vision Quest.
On February 13, ESA announced its third annual Video Juegos MX contest, designed to educate consumers and government officials in Mexico on the value of the video game industry’s intellectual property.
On February 14, ESA released the video game industry’s 2017 economic impact report. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Arizona Republic, WTOC (Georgia), WRAL (North Carolina), and NPR affiliate WESA (Pittsburgh) were among the many news outlets that covered the industry’s economic growth and diversity.
On February 14, ESA launched www.areweinyourstate.org, an interactive map of video game industry statistics, and held a launch event on Capitol Hill. The event included a panel with Rep. Larry Bucschon (R-IL), E-Tech Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Constance Steinkuehler of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance.
On February 16, ESA hosted a reception to celebrate the official opening of its new headquarters. More than 250 thought leaders, Capitol Hill staff, and administration officials attended the event.
On February 22, ESA President and CEO Michael D. Gallagher hosted ESA’s annual dinner for industry luminaries during D.I.C.E. Attendees included Wedbush’s Michael Pachter; Bethesda Softwork’s Todd Howard; 343 Studios’ Bonnie Ross and Kiki Wolfkill; Randy and Kristy Pitchford, Steve Gibson, and Wade Callender from Gearbox Software; Google’s Jamil Moledina; Geoff Keighley; Graeme Devine from MagicLeap; the International Game Developer’s Association’s Kate Edwards; ESRB President Pat Vance; and Jessica Chobot, co-host of the 2017 D.I.C.E. Awards.
On February 28, the ESA Foundation hosted its 19th annual Nite to Unite charity gala at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Nearly 500 guests attended and raised money to support children’s charities and video game scholarships.
On March 6, ESA announced that Gearbox Publishing, Triseum, and Legends of Learning joined the association.
On March 8, ESA and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) sponsored a workshop for students and emerging video game developers at the Technical Institute of Toluca as part of IMPI’s Expo Ingenio. More than 220 students and developers attended the workshop, which generated local press coverage and provided a platform to promote ESA’s Video Juegos MX contest to likely entrants.
On March 12, ESA President and CEO Michael D. Gallagher spoke at SXSW on a panel entitled Ethics and Values in Digital Trade Policy. Gallagher overviewed the video game industry’s priorities in a globalized economy.
On March 20, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser visited ESA’s headquarters for a tour and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new office space.
On March 23-25, the ESA Foundation attended Extra Life United 2017 in Orlando, Florida, presenting checks to winning hospitals of the 2016 ESA Foundation Extra Life Challenge – UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and University of Vermont Children’s Hospital.
On April 18, ESA released the 2017 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry report, which stated that 65 percent of American households are home to someone who plays video games regularly. International Business Times, GamesIndusty.biz, GameSpot, and Gamasutra featured coverage of the 2017 report.
On April 24, ESA distributed its 2016 Annual Report to the media, industry leaders, trade association CEOs, and members of Congress.
On April 25, ESA and Nintendo of America hosted a reception at the LongView Gallery in Washington, DC, to celebrate the launch of the Nintendo Switch. More than 300 people attended the event, including congressional staff, administration officials, industry thought leaders, and other tech association representatives.
On April 25, ESA received a People’s Voice Webby Award in the Best Association Website category for its website www.areweinyourstate.org. The site features an interactive map of the United States that shows where video game companies, college degree programs, and industry advocates are located by state and federal congressional district.
On April 27, The Advertising Review Council (ARC) completed its twelfth audit of ESRB Website Council member websites (e.g., GameFly, GameSpot, IGN, Machinima) for compliance with ARC guidelines. The websites scored an 89 percent in rating accuracy and 92 percent in age-gating trailers promoting games rated (or anticipated to be rated) Mature.
On April 28, ESA co-hosted with Capitol File magazine a White House Correspondents Dinner welcome reception at the British Embassy in Washington, DC. ESA showcased PlayStation VR, the Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One at the event. Notable attendees included Bethesda’s Todd Howard; Microsoft’s Vice President of Government Affairs Fred Humphries; CNN reporters Michelle Kosinski, Ana Cabrera, and Jeff Zeleny; NBC reporters Eun Yang, Angie Goff, and Lesli Foster; Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Debbie Dingell (R-MI), David Cicilline (D-RI), and John Delaney (D-MD); former Chief of Protocol of the United States Capricia Marshall; musician Max Weinberg; actor Matthew Modine; and the Washington Redskin’s Tanya Snyder and Kiersten Allen.
On May 3, ESA worked with congressional leaders to help launch the Congressional Caucus on Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality. The Capitol Hill portion of the launch included a panel moderated by Magic Leap CMO Brenda Freeman and featuring former ESA Board Member Mike Capps, Will Mason of Upload VR, and Andy Phelps of the Rochester Institute of Technology. More than 70 staffers and industry leaders attended the session, which ESA’s GovGames Twitch channel streamed live. Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Daryl Issa (R-CA) also made impassioned remarks about the future of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.
On May 4, ESA announced the launch of the 2017 E3 Coliseum, a series of E3 events held to bring consumers closer to their favorite video games and the developers that create them. Developed in partnership with Geoff Keighley, E3 Coliseum included panels and appearances by visionary game creators as well as film, TV, music, and other entertainment industry talents, including Neil Degrasse Tyson, Jack Black, Tim Schafer, Ed Boon, Gennifer Hutchinson, and James Gunn. Kotaku, Polygon, Gamespot, Games Industry Biz, Digital Trends, Playstation Lifestyle, US Gamer, and other leading video game news outlets all covered the announcement.
On May 15, ESA announced consumer tickets to E3 2017 were sold out. International Business Times, Games Industry Biz, Gamaustra, Digital Trends, GameSpot, and other outlets covered the news.
On May 23, ESA filed an amicus brief in support of Take-Two Interactive in Vigil v. Take-Two, a class action appeal involving alleged violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The case involves a face-scanning feature that allows players to create avatars for use in game play and could broadly implicate the use of biometrics in the industry as a whole.
On June 13-15, ESA hosted E3 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The event included • ESRB hosted meetings with international rating authorities • The ESA Foundation’s We Are exhibit • Into the Pixel exhibit • Tour for congressional staff delegation • VR Leadership Group luncheon • VIP tour for leaders in the accessibility community • Announcement of E3 College Game Competition Winner • E3 Coliseum at the Novo at L.A. Live
On June 21, the ESRB Retail Council (ERC) completed its 20th audit of retailer websites for compliance with ERC guidelines. The websites scored a 93 percent in rating display accuracy.
On July 17, ESRB Privacy Certified (EPC) signed Mattel Inc. into the program. EPC services extend to all Mattel websites, mobile apps, and internet-connected products, including the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands.
On July 20, The Washington DC 100 featured ESA as its July spotlight company, publishing a series of articles on the video game industry and ESA’s work. The articles, written by ESA partners and staff, were distributed to 10,000 senior level executives and thought leaders in the nation’s capital and covered topics such as the evolution of E3, the industry’s support of innovative education programs, the economic contributions of video games, and the industry’s policy priorities.
On July 22, ESA and WeWork hosted an event at San Diego Comic-Con featuring the nearly 60 video game companies in the region. More than 350 people attended, and US Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Scott Peters (D-CA) delivered remarks. Later, the congressmen challenged each other in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on ESA’s GovGames Twitch channel.
On July 24, ESA introduced its new online document repository, The Policy Arcade, which enables ESA, its members, and other video game organizations around the world to share public documents on important issues facing the industry.
On July 31, ESA President and CEO Michael D. Gallagher welcomed attendees to the 2017 Games for Change Festival in New York City as the event’s opening keynote speaker. In his presentation, Gallagher demonstrated how video game technology has evolved and expanded to become impactful beyond entertainment, improving education, medicine, and various other sectors.
On August 3, Evan Swarztrauber, the host of TechFreedom’s Tech Policy Podcast, interviewed ESA President and CEO Michael D. Gallagher about ESA’s policy priorities and how the video game industry leads the way for other tech sectors.
On August 5 and 6, the ESA Foundation sponsored the SAAM Arcade with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The two-day event featured presentations and workshops showcasing video game history and culture, as well as the latest video game technology. Two of the ESA Foundation’s partner organizations, Boolean Girls and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, also hosted free video game development workshops for local youth attending the event.
On August 19, ESRB President Patricia Vance delivered the keynote speech at the PLAY NYC games convention.
On September 7, ESA joined the NFL and Electronic Arts in hosting the annual Madden release event. This year, the Madden NFL 18 kickoff was held in conjunction with the NFL Thursday night season kickoff. Thirty-two Republican and Democratic members of Congress and more than 400 guests attended the event.
On September 15, ESA commended the introduction of the International Communications Privacy Act in the US House of Representatives. The legislation would upgrade customer privacy and put in place a clear procedure for handling access to the communications of foreign nationals.
On September 20, ESA President and CEO Michael D. Gallagher spoke at the University of Southern California. Gallagher discussed major industry advancements and why video game design is a smart career choice for students.
On September 20, ESRB President Patricia Vance was a featured speaker at an industry forum held in Busan, South Korea, organized by the country’s Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC) and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
On September 21, ESA welcomed Chicago-based Phosphor Studios as its newest member company. Phosphor Studios has created numerous virtual reality and mobile games and experiences, most recently for the Jurassic World and Batman franchises.
On September 25, ESA President and CEO Michael D. Gallagher released a statement applauding a federal initiative to invest $200 million in grant funding each year for expansion of STEM and computer science education in schools. Several news outlets, including GameSpot, Game Informer, and Breitbart covered ESA’s statement.
On September 25, the ESA Foundation announced its 2017-18 Computer and Video Game Scholarship recipients. This year, the ESA Foundation awarded five additional scholarships, with a total of 35 scholars receiving the award. The scholars hail from 15 states and Puerto Rico and attend 25 unique universities and colleges.
On October 16, ESA unveiled E3’s new logo, which was covered widely in the press.
On October 18, ESA sponsored a Men’s Event at Squash on Fire in Washington, DC. The event featured ESA’s video game lounge for attendees to enjoy classic games and experience new virtual reality games. Notable attendees included AT&T’s Lyndon Boozer; Robert Ordway from the American Legislative Exchange Council; Amy Dacey, immediate past CEO of the Democratic National Committee; and Katie Frates from the Daily Walkthrough.
On November 21, Apple’s App Store posted the updated ESRB rating search app, which followed the Android version in Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.
On November 27, the ESRB holiday outreach campaign launched a series of Facebook Live posts hosted by Macaroni Kid parent bloggers and ESRB Parent Ambassadors in support of ratings education goals. The campaign continued through December.
On November 29 and 30, ESA sponsored the second annual Video Game Association Summit to discuss policy issues. Forty-four member company representatives and 34 trade association personnel spanning North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa attended this year’s summit in London. Discussion topics included digital tax and tax incentives, trade, talent and diversity, loot boxes, privacy, and artificial intelligence.
On November 30, ESRB completed the 21st ERC website audit measuring accurate rating information on retailer websites, as well as restrictions to orders and trailers of M-rated titles. ERC members achieved 93 percent rating category accuracy.
On December 1, ESA convened a communications summit in London, bringing together communications and public relations professionals from groups and companies such as PEGI, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, Interactive Entertainment South Africa, ESA Canada, Swedish Games Industry, and Ukie. Throughout the full-day summit, participants discussed important topics such as the current state of the video game industry, best practices for issues management, evolving communications strategies for new media, research, and information sharing.
On December 7, Bethesda Softworks announced a $100,000 donation to the ESA Foundation at the 2017 Game Awards. The donation will support and expand the ESA Foundation scholarship program, which recently received $15,000 from the Bigglesworth Foundation to pilot a career development and mentorship program.
On December 13, ESA hosted its annual holiday party at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, DC. Approximately 600 industry influencers and congressional staffers attended the event, which featured games from member companies Bethesda Softworks, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Take-Two Interactive Software.
On December 13, ESRB President and IARC Chair Patricia Vance welcomed representatives from the Republic of GRAC to sign an agreement officially welcoming the Korean rating authority as the newest participant in the IARC global rating system for digital games and mobile apps. GRAC is the sixth rating authority to join IARC, along with Classificação Indicativa in Brazil, Classification Board in Australia, Entertainment Software Rating Board in North America, Pan European Game Information in Europe, and Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle in Germany.
On December 14, ESA developed a statement expressing its disappointment with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) vote on net neutrality, saying that it fails to prohibit blocking, throttling, and other anti-competitive conduct on the internet. ESA provided it to journalists requesting comment from ESA on the FCC vote.
On December 22, ESA filed an amicus brief in support of Take-Two Interactive, which has urged New York’s highest state court to affirm dismissal of statutory right-of-publicity claims brought by plaintiffs Lindsay Lohan and Karen Gravano for the alleged use of their likenesses in Grand Theft Auto V. ESA’s brief overviews the cultural significance of video games and their protection as expressive works under the US and New York constitutions.
On December 28, ESA issued a statement in response to the World Health Organization (WHO) announcing its intention to recognize obsessive video game playing as “gaming disorder.” The statement criticized the WHO for ignoring common sense and research that prove video games are not addictive and highlighted the dangers of trivializing real mental health issues.