What is the Entertainment Consumers Association®?

The ECA® is the non-profit membership organization that represents consumers of digital entertainment in the US and Canada. The association was founded to give gamers a collective voice with which to communicate their concerns, address their issues and focus their advocacy efforts. As such, the organization is committed to a host of public policy efforts, empowering and enabling the membership to effect change. Additionally, the association provides members substantial affinity benefits including discounts on games-related purchases, rentals and subscription services, as well as community and educational initiatives.

What is the ECA®'s mission?

The primary mission of the ECA® is to give gaming consumers a voice and ensure that state and local politicians hear their concerns and appreciate their demographic power. The association focuses its advocacy efforts on consumer rights, anti-games legislation, and a host of other public policy concerns as well as providing community and affinity benefits to its members.

How and why did the ECA® get started?

Gamers represent nearly 50% of the US population, yet their voices are rarely heard when it comes to anti-gaming legislation, censorship, or other critical issues that affect digital entertainment consumers.  Game publishers, developers and retailers had powerful industry trade organizations such as the ESA, IGDA and EMA to ensure that their voices are heard, but before the ECA® there was no such organization to represent gaming consumers.  The ECA® was founded in 2006, to address that need and establish a blueprint for a twenty-first century advocacy group. Read more about the ECA®'s history

Who started the ECA®?

The ECA® was founded by Hal Halpin, the association's President. Hal has been a force in the digital entertainment industry for over fifteen years as an executive and entrepreneur. As the founder of numerous influential publications and organizations, he is often called upon to represent gamers and gaming as an ambassador at large. Hal has a knack for creating organizations that help unite people and groups while advancing the interests of gaming as a whole. He is well-known as the founder of the game industry's retail trade association, Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), which served the $10 billion video and computer game business and merged with the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) to form the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) in 2006. 

What does it mean to be an ECA® member?

By joining the ECA®, you can make your voice heard while taking advantage of exclusive membership benefits. If you want you can help take on the major issues confronting gaming consumers today-anti-gaming legislation, consumer rights, and more. Lending your support to the ECA® can make a real difference. But membership goes beyond our advocacy efforts. The association is dedicated to providing a wealth of community and affinity benefits to our members. With membership, you can connect with like-minded gaming fans, explore career and educational opportunities in gaming, and more. ECA® membership can also provide discounts on games-related purchases, rentals and subscriptions as well as a whole host of additional affinity benefits that really add up. Supporting the ECA® means not only doing the right thing for gamers everywhere, it also helps you save money while joining a network of passionate digital entertainment fans.

Where does the ECA® get its funding – is the industry a source?

The ECA® presently receives 100% of its funding through membership dues, and all of those revenues go to support the running of the organization. It is entirely possible that we will introduce new products/services going forward that would provide us advertising or underwriting income, but not at present. The ECA® does not receive funding from the games industry and is not supported by the publishers. ECA® is a grassroots org, meaning that we have no financial ties to the business.

Who are the ECA® staff and where are your offices headquartered?

The management team that runs the day-to-day operations of the ECA® are all game industry veterans with diverse and valuable backgrounds that have enabled the organization to become the respected voice of game consumers The ECA® was built as a web-based association, so in theory our physical location isn’t as important, but our headquarters are in Wilton, CT (about an hour outside of Manhattan).

What is the annual membership fee?

The annual dues for membership in the ECA® are $19.99 per year, or $1.00 for student and military members (with a valid dot edu or dot mil domain extension). To join the association, click here.

What benefits are there associated with ECA® membership?

The organization is dedicated to providing a wealth of community and affinity benefits to our members.  With membership, you can connect with like-minded gamers, explore career and educational opportunities in the business, start or join one of our network of chapters across the US and Canada, and much more. Take a few minutes to check out our website to explore the advocacy issues that we work on, the empowerment tools that we provide, the accomplishments we’ve made and the other benefits of membership.

What do I get in terms of actual dollar value for my $19.99 dues?

The member benefits section of the website provides a detailed explanation, but our goal is to provide members with access to a whole host of goods and services, as diverse and individually-compelling as: low cost insurance, online advocacy tools, or members-only discounts and special promotions from our sponsors. As a member of the ECA®, you should be spending considerably less each year on goods and services because you’ll have access to them through the association at a much cheaper/more compelling rate(s). The list is fairly long and is constantly being updated with new offers, but members can access the full roster of offers on the site. In that way, the ECA® is substantially-similar to parallel non-profits like AAA or AARP.

Since the ECA® is a non-profit, are my dues payments tax-deductable?

No. The association is a 501(c)(4) non-profit membership organization. You may be thinking of 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. For more information about the differences between different classifications of non-profits, try here.

Once I join will my membership auto-renew?

Yes. At the time of your registration, you are asked to provide a major credit card so that on your anniversary date you can be automatically renewed for the following year as standard practice – not dissimilar to other membership organizations or major online gaming services. Nearing your anniversary date we remind you that your term is coming to an end so that you can take action to update your credit card information or cancel your membership.

Can I choose to have my membership NOT auto-renew online?

Yes. Members can login to their accounts and change their settings to deselect the auto-renew option.

What happens if my credit card expires?

The ECA® requires all members in good standing to have updated credit cards on file. This is for several reasons, not the least of which is that the system was designed to reduce overhead and back-end expenses. The credit card disclaimer – which can be found right above the section where new members are prompted for their details – explains that the card will not be charged again until your anniversary date (again, not unlike other non-profit membership organizations, online gaming services, or health club memberships for that matter). If new members are unwilling or unable to fully complete their registration information, we do not process their application. If your credit card expires or is lost/stolen, your profile must be updated so that you have a valid credit card capable of paying your dues on file with the association. The ECA® does not automatically update expired credit cards.

Can I cancel my membership at any time?

You may terminate your active membership in the association at any time. However, refund requests will not be processed. Like with any other membership org, many of the benefits are accessible immediately upon joining. If this policy were not in place, people could join the association, take advantage of the benefits and seek a refund immediately afterward. It is disclosed in your Membership Terms & Conditions, which you can find here.

How do I cancel my membership?

If you wish to cancel your ECA® membership, you can do so from your account settings once logged in to your profile.

Where can I find the ECA®’s Privacy Policy, Terms of Membership and Membership Agreement?

As a consumer advocacy organization, the rights of consumers are the ECA®’s priority. We also have a fiduciary responsibility to the organization as a whole and to the members individually. For those reasons our policies and agreements are modeled after the leading non-profit membership organizations and are available at the bottom of every page of our website. But for quick reference, our Privacy Policy can be found here and our Membership Terms & Conditions, here.

I’ve joined the association, but am having trouble accessing my account or logging-in.

Welcome! The system will send an authentication email to the address you provided in the first step, as well as a registration message acknowledging your complimentary subscription to ECA Today, our week-nightly HTML-based newsletter. You must click on the link in the authentication email to proceed to step two and finalize your registration. If you received the newsletter email, you will likely also receive the authentication message. Check your spam folder. If you didn’t receive either message, or you didn’t receive the authentication email after a short period of time, it may be that your ISP is blocking the email, or our message triggered something in your router’s filter settings. Just email us for additional help.

How can I find out more about what the ECA® is doing or has accomplished?

If you want to know how to get involved in any of the issue areas in which we’re engaged, try our action center here. You can read more about our successes, announcements and accomplishments in the aptly-named News section of the site. We also keep members abreast of our activities via our week-nightly HTML-based newsletter, ECA Today, as well as our Monthly Member Newsletter, which broadly keeps you informed. Members who wish to engage even more directly can start or join a local chapter or connect via any of our many social networking pages and sites. Additionally, the association publishes GamePolitics, GameCulture and GameJobs - which keeps members, and gamers generally, aware of any and all topically-important issues. And if you still have a question, comment or concern, you could always try our Forums.

I’d like to get the word out and help recruit new members, is there an affiliate program in place?

Yes. ECA® is both a Publisher and Advertiser with Commission Junction, which is how we work with affiliate partners, so we would refer you to their website to connect via their portal, here. We offer a compelling 10% commission for program partners, roughly $2.00 per. Since we're entirely membership dues-funded, it's important for us to maintain a healthy and growing membership community.

Does the ECA® offer working journalists complimentary memberships?

We do offer members of the media a limited number of complimentary memberships in the association. For all media inquiries, please email press(at)theeca(dot)com to communicate directly with our public relations staff.

How can I let the ECA® know what I think?

If you have questions, concerns, comments - or just a kind word or three - just click on the Contact Us link in the main navigation at the top of the site. Or to reach us by mail, phone or fax please contact us at the following address:

Entertainment Consumers Association
64 Danbury Road, Suite 700, Wilton, CT 06897-4406 USA
phone: +1 (203) 761-6180
fax: +1 (203) 761-6184
email: feedback(at)theeca(dot)com

Alternatively, we can also be reached via any one of our many social networking sites and pages, a list of which you can find here. We appreciate your interest in the association and look forward to welcoming you as a member. Thanks!