This is pretty funny. According to this Gamespot story, E3’s decline forced a huge surge in the cost of being an ESA member. Like, a 1,700 percent surge. From the piece:
When the ESA first announced the plans for a smaller E3, it said the resulting revenue shortfall would be made up for partly by a hike in the organization’s membership fees. Those fees were clearly reflected in the ESA’s filing, as membership dues for the year of the Santa Monica E3 (April 1, 2007 – March 31, 2008) were $17.41 million, up nearly 400 percent from the prior year’s total of $4.47 million. The year before that, the ESA’s total income from membership dues was just over $1 million, making for a two-year, 1,700 percent surge in fees.
A flurry of companies left ESA last year, including Activision, LucasArts, id, Crave, and NCsoft.
Now you know why. More through there.