3 min read

Trump plans to meet with game industry over violent video games

Updated: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced today that Donald Trump plans to meet with unnamed representatives of the game industry next week to discuss gun violence & school safety.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced during a press briefing today that Donald Trump plans to meet with unnamed representatives of the game industry next week to discuss gun violence and school safety.

It's a vague follow-up to equally vague suggestions Trump made last week that video games might in some way be linked to the horrific mass shooting that took place at a Parkland, Florida high school on February 14th.

"The President has met with a number of stakeholders," Sanders said in response to a question from the press about what U.S. lawmakers are doing to stop gun violence. "Next week he'll also be meeting with members of the video game industry to see what they can do on that front as well. This is going to be an ongoing process, and something we don't expect to happen overnight."

This is a return to form for the White House, which in 2013 saw then-Vice President Joe Biden call game industry representatives to Washington for a meeting on the state of violent video game research following the abominable mass shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012.

At the time, Gamasutra argued that showing up to such a meeting was a tacit admission of guilt, and thus a mistake for the game industry. After the meeting, then-President Barack Obama issued a call for Congress to fund further research on "the effects violent video games have on young minds."

A year later, Gamasutra investigated the results of the White House's efforts and found that it was, by and large, a bit of public grandstanding with little lasting impact. While repeated studies have shown no significant link between violence in video games and real-world violence, a lack of public education about the issue lead it to be trotted out as a centerpiece for moral panic.

Game industry veteran and former White House senior advisor for digital media Mark DeLoura recently published a brief Gamasutra blog post about exactly this; it's well worth a read if you'd like to dig more deeply into this issue, as DeLoura outlines the different ways in which research from as far back as 2002 shows no clear link between violent video games and the rising tide of mass shootings in the U.S.

Update: The Entertainment Software Association has come forward with a new statement, saying that it now has plans to meet with the White House on Thursday. 

As reported by Kotaku's Jason Schreier through Twitter, the ESA states that "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."

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