Video game industry says it will meet with Trump this week to discuss violence

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Entertainment Software Association, the lobbying arm of the video game industry that also oversees the medium’s content ratings system, confirmed today that it will in fact meet with President Donald Trump this week, according to Rolling Stone. The meeting, which will involve discussions of violent games and real-world gun violence, will take place on Thursday, March 8th. It may include representatives from the world’s largest video game publishers and developers.

The ESA, which contends that there is no scientifically proven link between video games and violent crime or behavior, includes representation from Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Ubisoft, among others. It is unclear at this time which companies plan to send to representatives to the White House.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sent shockwaves through the game community last week when she said Trump had planned a meeting with the industry to discuss links between consumption of video game violence and the committing of real-world violence. The comment was specifically related to Trump’s evolving and at times confounding response to the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month, which has reignited the debate around gun control and violent media. At the time, neither the ESA nor the largest American game companies had seemingly been made aware of the supposed meeting with Trump.

While Trump has not definitively stated that he believes violent games or other media lead people to commit acts like school shootings, he has pointed the finger at games for “shaping young people’s thoughts,” adding that “we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it.” It’s unclear if Trump, or people close to the president, believe the industry needs potentially unconstitutional regulation or simply more robust content warnings. Complicating the matter is the fact that the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups tend to use violent media as a way to deflect criticism of gun control and prevent legislation related to the access to firearms.

In a statement issued today, the ESA finally confirmed the existence of the meeting and its plans to attend. The company’s full statement reads as a staunch defense of video games, which notably are protected under the First Amendment after a landmark 2011 Supreme Court ruling designated games as art with the same protections as film, TV, books, and other forms of artistic expression. Here is the statement in full:

Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and real-life violence. Like all Americans, we are deeply concerned about the level of gun violence in the United States. Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation. The upcoming meeting at the White House, which ESA will attend, will provide the opportunity to have a fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices.

Comments

They shouldn’t have even taken the meeting. The idiot doesn’t understand anything else, there is zero chance he has any understanding of video games. It will at best be a waste of their time.

Should have refused to meet with him as a statement of protest and solidarity with the students trying to change gun control laws. Would’ve drawn even more scrutiny to his plans for responding to the shooting.

I can’t for the life of me imagine how you think them refusing to even discuss the issue like petulant children and letting him have the sole voice in this discussion would be in any way helpful, much less how you think he would be the one that would look bad because of it.

Because there are things that are not up for discussion, and refusing to meet with him unless he addressed the student’s issues is actually a statement as part of the discussion, hence not letting him be the sole voice. You do not need to speak to be heard, actions are louder than words.

I would’ve thought you people would learn from the 2016 elections. Treating every discussion and opinion as equal and deserving of attention is logically flawed. Treating every opinion as debatable actually legitimizes that idea. There are things we have to collectively say "no, that’s enough" to, otherwise you will be endlessly debating this with no action – i.e. guns.

It would be worse if they refused. He’d just use it as an excuse to accuse them of hiding something or being scared or some other stupid thing and use it as fuel to try to further rally his idiot supporters against video games.

And you know what? He wouldn’t be entirely wrong either, because it would be incredibly childish and weak of them to refuse to stand up and speak their side in this situation.

Multiple other industries agreed with you, and attempted to ‘meet with the president’. According to the Washington post articles I subscribe to, those meetings have by-and-large been a colossal waste of time -while still allowing the president to say ‘look at how well I discuss with all sides of an issue’

Refusing to meet with him gives him little more than the continued use of the twitter machine to rail against you. Video game companies have little to gain, because meeting or no meeting, trump is going to do what he wants.

He wouldn’t be entirely wrong either, because it would be incredibly childish and weak of them to refuse to stand up and speak their side in this situation.

Seriously? He’s using them as a distraction tactic. He want’s them to come and defend themselves, when it’s already been done. The studies are there. The statistics vs other countries are there. The Supreme Court ruling is there.
If he said the world was flat, should anyone have to defend the fact that it is round? No! He is a salesman, a magician. You are looking at his absurd right hand, while the left shakes with the NRA.

Never let a salesman choose the game or you have lost, even when you win.

I hear you

Just another distraction while the Republicans wait for things to blow over, until the next school shooting.

This.
Keep the attention off the NRA and the dirty money.
Has there ever been any proof that video games cause actual violence?
Overall, violent crime in the US is way down over the past 20 years, just as more realistic shooters became available.
Of course school shootings are up, but that’s in assault rifle territory. The ban on those expired in the mid-2000’s.

No, the distraction was the trade war he pretended to try and start

he did start a trade war…the man doesn’t know business.

Call me when this so called "trade war" affects your life, personally, in any way whatsoever. It is estimated to raise the price of a six pack of beer by two cents, ooh scary (and temporary). The idea is to get fair and reciprocal trade from other countries, why is that bad?

Given this….how many beer-cans worth of aluminum/ other alloys are in my car, laptop, bed frame, refrigerator. I’m about to start adulting fo-real now and I just want to know how much money is going to be tacked on to these near-term purchases for no reason.

FBI recieved 39 tips on Cruz and did nothing.

And it’s the Republicans’ fault?

Lack of gun control is the Republicans’ fault, full stop.

We are working backward from the Second Amendment. It’s not as simple as gun control yes/no. I don’t believe "fault" is the right word, as it implies legislators just tank gun control legislation for nonsensical reasons. They believe, in many cases, they are doing the right thing, or more importantly, what their constituents want. That’s all I can ask of a representative.

In cases where they fear the NRA, well, that is a different story. I’m glad Trump called those people out the other day.

The FBI — or, rather, individuals within the agency — dropped the ball. I don’t think anyone’s questioning that.

That’s not what’s being discussed here.

Fair enough.

I’m the best at video games, believe me. I beat Bloodborne in 42 seconds, and, everyone says it, was the fastest on earth. 42 seconds folks!

Hahah. Would love if he tweeted this.

I might be 2% less mad at him if he was that self aware lol

An exercise in futility.

Yes , Trump head video games are the problem not semi automatic guns. Good direction here to solve our gun problem.

It’s violent games/movies +SSRI drugs. Everyone knows that games on their own don’t do anything but all of these shooters are on drugs or have been.

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