Doug Lowenstein, president of the Electronic Software Association (ESA), is stepping down from his post in early 2007, according to an executive at an ESA member organization. The source claims ESA members were told of the decision last week, and an official media announcement should be on the way this weekend. Lowenstein leaves amidst some turmoil; the closing of the annual E3 Expo show was a definite blow.
As of now, circulating rumors say that Lowenstein has accepted a position with a trade organization – not yet completely formed – that would represent a number of investment community firms. For now, the former president is expected to remain on board with the ESA through February 2007, but no ESA representative has confirmed this information as of yet.
Lowenstein has long since been the man in power. He founded the ESA's precursor, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), in April of 1994. This came on the heels of a major political outcry to create a rating system for videogames, which was similar to the uprising regarding music albums and warning labels in the '80s. The IDSA was renamed the Electronic Software Association in 2003, but their goal has always remained the same: represent the North American game industry in Washington, DC and fully lend support to the ESA-created ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).