Hal Halpin is the founder and president of the Entertainment Consumers Association® (ECA®), the non-profit membership organization which represents individuals who purchase and play computer and video games in the U.S. and Canada. The association was formed to give gamers a collective voice with which to communicate their concerns, address their issues and focus their advocacy efforts. As such, the ECA® is committed to a host of public policy initiatives, empowering and enabling the membership to effect change. Additionally, the organization provides members substantial affinity benefits including discounts on games-related goods and services, as well as community and educational initiatives.


As president of the ECA®, Hal runs the day-to-day business of the association, acts as the public face for consumer advocacy and represents gamers’ interests to the business, media, and general public. He also serves as Executive Director and President of the ECA Institute (ECAi), a non-profit charitable venture related to, but separate from, ECA®. Where the Association is a 501(c)(4) membership organization which represents gamers, the Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which focuses on advancing policy, research and educational needs related to gaming.
He was previously the founder of the game industry's retail trade association, IEMA (Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association), which successfully merged with the VSDA (Video Software Dealers Association) to form the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA). Hal founded the IEMA in 1997 and its member companies – including Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Target, and GameStop accounted for approximately 75% of the sector's business. He also managed and ran the Executive Summit, which was the game industry's senior-level event for the top 700 decision-makers in the business. Under Hal's leadership, the IEMA standardized PC games packaging, introduced and advanced RFID technology to the channel, created the standard platform identification mark used on all computer games, coalition-built with parallel trade associations and successfully defeated hundreds pieces of legislation targeting gaming, and lobbied on behalf of retailer's rights to the industry, in Congress and with the media. Hal oversaw the reversal in merchants’ policies and procedures regarding the sale of Mature-rated products and worked with legislators, software publishers and member companies to avoid government regulation.
Prior to the IEMA, Hal was the founder and president of Cyberactive Media, a business-to-business publishing company. There he was the publisher of IE magazine (formerly GameWeek), which was the leading trade publication serving the sector. "Interactive Entertainment" was a phrase that was attributed to the magazine, but became part of the industry's vernacular and was popularized by Hal - representing the convergence of the console, handheld, online and computer gaming sectors. He also previously founded and was the publisher of GameDaily, the category's primary daily news outlet and launched the leading digital entertainment business recruitment site, GameJobs.com, which remains a staple HR tool serving the trade. Hal was also the publisher of the Official E3 Show Daily for the 1998 and 1999 events. He re-published the authoritative novel covering the business, Game Over, which is often referred to as the "Bible" of the video game industry. Hal successfully re-launched the industry's first charitable organization, Games for Good.
Before Cyberactive, Hal launched Video Games On-Line (VGOL) in 1994. VGOL was a short-lived venture which created the game industry's first online gaming portal and digital distribution vehicle – an idea that would prove to be far ahead of its time.
Hal has served on numerous corporate a non-profit boards and related committees. An avid gamer, husband and father of three, he brings to bear a unique blend of skill-sets, experience and qualifications. In representing the ECA®, game consumers and digital entertainment, Hal is frequently called upon by members of the media, speaks extensively at trade and consumer events, pens guest editorials for some of the leading endemic media outlets and testifies before legislators regarding consumer rights.
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