The discussion of violent video games being linked to real world violence has been in the spotlight for decades and now, once again, the notion has been brought up by President Donald Trump. After the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, politicians have pointed to video games as one of the leading causes of the attacks. However, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) disagrees with this idea, pointing to the popularity of video games across the world and noting only the United States suffered from over 250 mass shootings since the beginning of 2019.
In light of the horrific tragedies, Trump said:
It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to start immediately.
As part of Trump’s proposal to “stop the glorification of violence in our society,” the President wants to work with social media to “identify mass shooters before they strike.”
In response to this, the ESA issued a statement with the following excerpt:
More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.
Other associations, like IGDA agreed with the ESA, stating:
Blaming video games distracts from the broader issues at hand. There is an overwhelming amount of research that finds there is no evidence linking video games to violence. Video games do not cause violence, and we support efforts to discontinue this misguided information.
Violent video games are some of the most successful in terms of sales, with the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 selling over 25 million units since its launch in October of 2018. That isn’t to say that consumers only buy violent video games, but their popularity is worth acknowledging. In addition, Call of Duty often has the best-selling game of each year, a series that is well-known for its violence. Most recently, the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has seen much controversy for its realistic depiction of war.
After President Trump issued his statement, shares of U.S. video game publishers went down substantially. Activision, the publisher of Call of Duty, saw a decrease in its shares by 6.1% following the Texas shooter’s manifesto that referenced the military shooter:
Don’t attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super soldier COD fantasy. Attack low security targets.
It’s unclear how President Trump’s plans for video games will unfold, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated with this story as we get more information.
[Source: Games Industry]