Is Activision A Freeloader? Is It Bad?

An Ars Technical piece today chided Activision for not contributing to the defense of the games industry by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). My reaction: so what? Neither did the thousands of other game developers building games for PC’s, Macs, iOS or Android. Sure, Activision is a big company, and there could be an expectation by some that they should “do their part” and pony up some bucks. But why? So that the small developers, which Activision does actually have to compete with, can benefit without paying their share too? Maybe you’ve heard of this little game called Angry Birds? Published by Chillingo and Rovio? Neither of them are members of the ESA. They have made a significant amount of money selling their games, and they will likely benefit from the Supreme Court ruling. Presumably they didn’t pay for the defense either. Why not call them out as well?

I do commend the ESA for taking on the job of defending the games industry, and I believe that the Supreme Court ruling is right. But to try to call out a large company for not paying for the defense, but still benefiting from it, seems more like attempt to generate traffic than a serious attempt to make a meaningful difference. Again, I ask “so what?”