Video game industry meets to discuss gun violence

Hayley Tsukayama for the Washington Post:

So on Friday, the ESA, game developers, academics and retailers met with Vice President Biden to have a deeper conversation. And — perhaps sensing their apprehension — Biden told the attendees that he came in “with no judgment” about how their products fit into the conversation about gun violence and said he was“anxious” to see what input they could provide.

I’m surprised the gaming industry agreed to this.

  • StefanVanPerlo

    As long as they avoid to blame the gunner, it’s cool right? And in other news; police meets with matchbox to discuss traffic safety.

  • viddyagames

    I’m glad the industry agreed to this and they should – all possible causes should be examined. If the NRA agreed to be interviewed so should the ESA.

    It’s sad to see this constant knee-jerk reaction from gamers each time this comes up, that there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with video games and they should just leave us alone already! It’s childish and defensive.

    There are plenty of things that could be examined in the games industry:

    1) Is the ratings system working? Do parents understand it? Do they know that games can be just as violent as movies these days? Is it okay that the ratings system is entirely controlled by the games industry? Would it be better to have a 3rd-party handle the ratings? Should they make the ratings the same as movies (i.e. “PG” instead of “E”, etc)?

    2) Can it be easier for parents to configure content blocking on consoles/PCs? Maybe this should be prompted when you first start up a console?

    3) Is more education needed? i.e. a commercial campaign to inform about ratings, etc. Explain that they should take more interest in what their kids are playing.

    4) Has the amount of graphic violence in games increased in the last decade? Look at the difference between the Infinity Ward developed CoD games and the new Treyarch ones that feature much more gratuitous gore.

    Those people who think that we should never look at video games/movies/tv/etc are no different from the gun nuts who insist guns are never to blame.

    • Whose responsibility is it to keep violent games or toys out of the hands of children too young to understand them?

      • viddyagames

        Sigh 🙁

        Of course it’s the responsibility of parents – but you’re missing the point. It’s the responsibility of the games industry to make sure the rating system works and parents are informed.

        You can use the same argument about guns: “don’t blame the guns, blame the parents who didn’t keep the guns away from children!”

        Where is the harm in reviewing the above points to make things easier for parents to stop children from playing overly violent games? Do we just ignore any problems that might exist in the games industry and keep looking elsewhere for blame because we like playing games?

        Do we really want children growing up spending all their free time on XBox Live raging and screaming obscenities? Is that healthy?

        Shouldn’t anyone be looking into the link between firearms manufacturers who work with game developers, licensing guns in their games as part of their marketing?

        Look at the difference between how games are rated in the UK and the US. In the US all game ratings are done by the ESRB, which is part of the games industry and uses it’s own unique rating system. In the UK it’s done by the BBFC – a wholly independent body that uses the same ratings system as films, which is contently under review and consults the public on what is considered to be acceptable. The BBFC does a ton of work to make sure parents are informed and most importantly have the interests of the public in mind instead of the interests of the games industry.

        • lucascott

          Hate to say it but it doesn’t matter who does the ratings TV when there’s no legal backing to stop kids from buying it, or worse lifting it and parents aren’t doing their jobs and parenting.

          And it’s been that way for years. Kids hanging at the malls, at book stores, libraries. Parents yelling at store managers because their kids were there reading mature comics or what not. It’s not the staffs job to babysit. If your kids can’t be trusted to go home and do their school work etc then as a parent, sort it out.

    • Lukas

      All possible causes should be examined, I agree. But we’ve spent the last two decades examining videogames, and the results are pretty clear, and consistent over most large-scale, properly blinded studies.

      1. Videogames can create a short-term increase in aggression in gamers, the same as a movie, book, or music. After playing a racing game (which are actually the games that show this effect most clearly, not shooters), you’re amped up.

      2. Videogames don’t create any long-term increase in aggression.

      3. Statistically, there’s a slight negative correlation between how much games people play, and how many shootings there are; in countries where people play more games, there are actually fewer shootings (note that this is not good evidence for a causation between videogames and a decrease in gun violence, it’s just evidence for a lack of causation between videogames and gun violence).

    • all possible causes should be examined.

      Except for actual statistics on gun violence, because the gun nuts who have far too much say in US politics effectively made that illegal.

      Those people who think that we should never look at video games/movies/tv/etc

      Those people don’t exist. The fact of the matter is that people have been looking for decades, and where the data isn’t inconclusive, it’s finds a negative correlation. At this point, it’s not unreasonable to reject the correlation.

      no different from the gun nuts

      No game or movie producer has ever stood up in public and claimed that the regulation of movies and games would mean the irrevocable loss of fundamental freedoms complete and utter collapse of the USA.

      • Peter Cohen

        “No game or movie producer has ever stood up in public and claimed that the regulation of movies and games would mean the irrevocable loss of fundamental freedoms complete and utter collapse of the USA.”

        Perhaps not in those words, but representatives of the video game industry have argued successfully in front of the Supreme Court that California’s legislative attempt – sponsored by Leland Yee and signed into law by the Governator – to legislate video game access to minors violates the First Amendment.

        • Making an argument that regulation of video games beyond a certain level violates the 1st Amendment is an order of magnitude different from the claim that regulation of firearms will lead to the destruction of the US.

  • I have played all Call of Duty games on my PS3 released since Call of Duty 2. I routinely play online.

    I have been called a camper, a faggot, a homo, a momma’s boy, a basement dweller, a loser, a geek, a nerd, and various combinations and iterations of those themes. Players regularly aim insults at my skill level, sexual orientation, success with women, intelligence, physical appearance and nationality.

    During the regular participation of what is effectively a graphic combat simulator, no one has ever threatened to actually track me down and shoot me.

    Slag the NRA on Twitter or Facebook or in a news article, and a non-zero number of freedom lovin’ ‘muricans will threaten to shoot you.

    But yeah, video games are the problem.

  • Someone needs to remind Biden—and the entire Congress—about Dr. Fredric Wertham, creator of the Comics Code. This was a man who believed comic books caused juvenile delinquency because gang members were found to read comic books.

  • Jefcostello

    Politicians are reactionaries and ALL not to be trusted. Obama and Biden have killed over 200 children via drone, who are they to lead on this issue?

    • lucascott

      Well hells bells, how many kids do the other presidents have on their records. You can bet its close, if not even over in some cases. Land mines, air strikes, when kids live in and near battle zones some of them will be killed. No matter who is leading the country

    • Yes, let’s continue to remain paralyzed by the spectre of the Nirvana fallacy.

  • TwistByrn

    As long as the gun is wearing a condom I think we will at least get across the right message to the youth…

  • crateish

    They just don’t want to be hauled before Congress. This House would burn them at the stake to avoid any fault hitting their gun industry lobbyist buddies.