Level-5, developer of Professor Layton, Dark Cloud, Ni no Kuni and more, is moving further toward establishing publishing operations in North America. The ESA -- the video game publishers' lobbying group -- announced today that Level-5 has joined its ranks. Ergo, Level-5 is becoming a North American video game publisher. That helps explain what the new Level-5 International America office is up to.

Level-5's publishing operations, whatever they are, will likely begin after the winter release of Ni no Kuni -- as Namco Bandai is handling that.

Other new ESA members include digital publisher Little Orbit, who has the license for DC's Young Justice, and digital publisher Rubicon Organization.
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RUBICON, LITTLE ORBIT, AND LEVEL-5 JOIN ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE ASSOCIATION
Video Game Publishers Increase Membership Diversity

March 5, 2012 – WASHINGTON, DC – Rubicon, Little Orbit, and Level-5 Inc. recently joined the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which is the U.S. trade association representing computer and video game publishers. These additions bring the ESA's total membership to 36 companies.

"Our newest members' varied backgrounds and wide range of quality products exemplify the diversity, innovation and growth of the video game industry," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. "ESA looks forward to collaborating with our newest members to further advance our industry and address the important issues and opportunities facing computer and video game companies today."

Founded by a team of industry veterans with diverse backgrounds in development, marketing and distribution, Rubicon Organization is a second-generation digital publisher launching a slate of original and licensed properties in FY 2012. Based in Agoura Hills, Calif., Rubicon Organization is dedicated to making exciting original and licensed games for core gamers on digital platforms.

"We combine tried and true marketing and distribution practices, an evolved project-finance system, a filmic greenlight process, and agile production methods to deliver a robust solution to the problem of delivering interactive entertainment content to consumers simultaneously on multiple digital platforms," said Adam Kline, president of Rubicon.

Little Orbit, who just announced video game rights for DC Comics Brand Young Justice, published its first titles in 2010. One of those titles, Busy Scissors for the Nintendo Wii and DS, went on to sell 100,000 copies worldwide within six months of the game's launch. Based in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., the company's emphasis is on creating engaging, easy to play entertainment based on highly visible brands for all gaming platforms. For more information visit www.littleorbit.com.

"Little Orbit is a worldwide retail and digital publisher with internal game development capabilities. We provide a wide array of services, including design, development, marketing, and sales," said Matt Scott, CEO of Little Orbit. "We believe that becoming an ESA member will strengthen our business both in and out of the studio, thanks to the association's deep investment in the game industry."

Akihiro Hino established Level-5 Inc., known best for its flagship Professor Layton game series for Nintendo handheld systems, in Japan in 1998 and opened a U.S. office in Santa Monica, Calif. in 2010. Level-5's work on the critically acclaimed Dragon Quest VIII catapulted the studio to even higher levels of industry recognition. Level-5 Inc. is currently developing several new titles for Sony and Nintendo game systems.

The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, managing E3, conducting business and consumer research, and representing the video game industry in federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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