The Entertainment Software Association announced that China’s Tencent has joined the game lobbying group for the first time and Activision Blizzard is returning to the group. Both big companies are a coup for the ESA, which lost Activision in 2008.

“These highly innovative companies offer compelling and influential video games and game content to millions of players across the globe,” added Michael Gallagher, the president and CEO of ESA. “Activision Blizzard and Tencent have established worldwide reputations as producers of world-class interactive entertainment. We are eager to work with both companies as they continue to grow their global interactive and entertainment services.”

Activision Blizzard, publisher of games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops II and World of Warcraft, left the ESA in 2008. Citing business reasons, it also opted not to have a booth at the E3 video game conference that year. The ESA operates E3 and also runs the trade group’s functions.

“ESA supports and cultivates collaboration among member companies,” said Gordon Bellamy of Tencent. “We are excited to join an association that promotes the development of the U.S. game industry as we are exploring more opportunities in this market.”

The ESA now has 37 member companies.

“We are excited to join ESA,” said Chris Walther of Activision Blizzard. “ESA has a long track-record of supporting its members and the video game industry, and we look forward to sharing our unique perspective and experience with them.”

Tencent operates the QQ Game Platform as well as popular games such as CrossFire.