After several days of speculation in the gaming press, the
Entertainment Software Association
(ESA) announced Tuesday the departure of its president, Douglas Lowenstein.
Lowenstein plans to stay on into early 2007. The ESA said it will start a full executive search for a replacement immediately.
Lowenstein joined the ESA in 1994, when it was still called the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) — he’s the organization’s founding president. Lowenstein presided over the ESA as the video and computer game industry has grown explosively, from $3 billion annually to more than $10 billion.
Lowenstein has been the public face of the trade organization that represents the video and computer game industry at a time when it’s been besieged by politicians and pundits who claim that the business isn’t doing enough to shield young players from excessive violence and sexual content in games. The ESA has successfully rebuffed each and every state attempt to limit video game sales to minors by challenging those laws in federal court.
The ESA is also the owner of E3 Expo, the annual video game tradeshow in Los Angeles, Calif. that has drawn hundreds of vendors and tens of thousands of attendees each year it has taken place. This summer the ESA
announced plans to scale back
the event to a more intimate, invitation-only affair, to be held in Santa Monica, Calif. in 2007.
Lowenstein plans to launch a new trade association in the investment industry, according to a statement from the ESA.