FEBRUARY 16, 2011 – WASHINGTON, DC – The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today applauded U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady (TX-8th) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20th) for their leadership in launching the Congressional Caucus for Competitiveness in Entertainment Technology (E-TECH Caucus). The new caucus, announced at an event this morning on Capitol Hill, will work to educate policymakers and the public about the economic, educational and social benefits of sustaining a robust entertainment software industry.

“We commend the leadership of Representatives Brady and Wasserman Schultz, and the entire membership of the E-TECH Caucus, who will highlight the many ways computer and video games are improving the American economy and the lives of citizens,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA, which represents U.S. computer and video game publishers. “Our industry has demonstrated great potential over the last few years in many new areas, including health, education, and medicine. It is our goal to work with the E-TECH Caucus to continue that growth well into the 21st century by fostering the creation of more innovative technologies and growing America’s competitive position in the global entertainment technology marketplace.”

In the United States, computer and video game publishers currently operate in 34 states, directly and indirectly employing over 120,000 artists, engineers and storytellers and generating over $24 billion in revenue in 2010. From 2005-2009, the computer and video game industry grew at an annual rate of 10.6 percent, significantly outpacing the U.S. economy as a whole, which grew at an annual rate of 1.4 percent during that same period.

“Children of all ages are immersed in technology—today’s kids spend as much time with digital media as they do in school. To make learning more engaging and to help students maintain our competitive edge, our nation needs some real game changers,” said Dr. Michael Levine, executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. “The newly established Congressional Caucus has an essential role to play in shining a bright light on the games and learning sector. It can help build public-private partnerships that encourage entrepreneurs to develop bold breakthrough designs and help modernize education for a digital age.”

“To keep America competitive in the global marketplace, we must encourage policies that support the development of innovative technologies,” said Fred Humphries, vice president of U.S. government affairs for Microsoft. “The result will be an all-around win that extends beyond consumer entertainment, creating quality jobs and driving productivity in a variety of industries.”

In addition to Representatives Brady and Wasserman Schultz, founding Congressional members of the E-TECH Caucus include:

Rep. Jason Altmire (PA)
Rep. Howard Berman (CA)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC)
Rep. John Carter (TX)
Rep. Judy Chu (CA)
Rep. Howard Coble (NC)
Rep. Steve Cohen (TN)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA)
Rep. Norm Dicks (WA)
Rep. Mike Doyle (PA)
Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY)
Rep. Jane Harman (CA)
Rep. Tim Holden (PA)
Rep. Mike Honda (CA)
Rep. Darrell Issa (CA)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)
Rep. Peter King (NY)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA)
Rep. Dan Lungren (CA)
Rep. Jim McDermott (WA)
Rep. James McGovern (MA)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA)
Rep. Jim Moran (VA)
Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ)
Rep. Jared Polis (CO)
Rep. Dave Reichert (WA)
Rep. Laura Richardson (CA)
Rep. Bobby Rush (IL)
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (CA)
Rep. Janice Schakowsky (IL)
Rep. Aaron Schock (IL)
Rep. Lamar Smith (TX)
Rep. Jackie Speier (CA)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS)

Because of the broader appeal of games, interest in entertainment software as a career path is also growing. More than 300 American colleges, universities and technical schools, including Southern Methodist University, Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, the University of Southern California and the Georgia Institute of Technology, currently offer programs and courses in video game design and development.