The summit involving talks between Congress and the video game industry heads wasn’t just a talk between the gaming industry and politicians. While big name distributors over games like Grand Theft Auto and The Elder Scrolls were in attendance, so were anti-gaming pundits such as Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Melissa Henson from the Parents Television Council.
The meeting is in result of Republicans taking aim at video games as a cause of mass shooters, following the tragic mass-killing event at the high school in Parkland, Florida. President Donald Trump – with support from other politicians – decided to hold a summit at the White House where video game producers would attempt to speak up on how video games don’t cause violence in kids, while other anti-gaming persons would attempt to argue why video games do cause violence. If the arguments aren’t sufficient from video game publishers, Republicans are seeking 10% sin taxes on violent video games and stricter ratings on games or reduced ultra-violence in some titles.
According to Reuters, the conversation was just an hour long and was closed off from media. Reuters paraphrases the results of the meeting from Melissa Henson from the Parents Television Council, which is a group that is anti-violence and anti-sex in entertainment…
“The conversation lasted for almost an hour and was “vigorous” but “respectful,” and Trump seemed to be interested in hearing from all sides, said Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council, a group that advocates against violence and sex in entertainment.”
According to Henson, there needs to be more detailed ratings for video games, which follows on President Trump’s suggestion that “terror ratings” are added to video game and movie labels. This is despite the fact that the ESRB already exists and rates video games, just like the MPAA rates movies, and so far studies have found that video game violence does not desensitize people toward real-life violence and that there’s minimal evidence suggesting that video game violence has links to real violence.
According to CNN anchor Jack Tapper, Henson was not unopposed at the summit. Take-Two Interactive CEO, Strauss Zelnick; ESA presidentMike Gallagher, ESRB president Pat Vance; and CEO of ZeniMax Media (parent company of Bethesda), Robert Altman, all challenged the claims from Republicans that video games cause kids to become violent.
Expected attendees at POTUS meeting today to “discuss violent video-game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children,” per WH pic.twitter.com/6y61gTYZbT
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 8, 2018
Video game publishing CEOs and the ESA had additional opposition in the form of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who has written books on how video games causes aggression in America’s youth and are dangerous forms of entertainment for the psychological development of kids.
Members of Congress were also in attendance, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio; Republican representative of Missouri, Vicky Hartzler; and Republican representative of Alabama, Martha Roby.
TechRaptor did a detailed breakdown of each Congressional member who appeared at the summit, noting how much money they’ve received from the NRA, as well as what their stances have been on video games in the past; all of the politicians are essentially against video game violence.
If the publishers were successful then they might have been able to stave off any additional regulation on the industry. If the publishers were unsuccessful, then it could spell a dire future for gamers when it comes to purchasing games with violent content, despite the fact that the 2011 Supreme Court ruling protected video games under the First Amendment.
Let’s be absolutely real about the situation…
A lot of this is actually the fault of video game journalists who betrayed gamers by attacking the industry incessantly, gaining widespread and mainstream attention with their unfettered demonization of the industry nonstop for the last four years, starting with mislabeling and attacking the consumer revolt known as #GamerGate.
Polygon, Kotaku, Ars Technica, and game journalist associated with, or part of, the GameJournoPros who advocated and signaled the voice of anti-gaming pundits like Anita Sarkeesian are responsible for the negative image the gaming industry has picked up over the last four years. They’ve also opened up the door for Republicans to come in and continue the castigation against games that was started by video game press.
Some of these sites have attempted to become two-faced advocates, arguing against President Donald Trump’s assertions that video game violence negatively impacts America’s youth while simultaneously agreeing with Anita Sarkeesian that video game sexism negatively impacts America’s youth.
Gamers have called out sites like Polygon and culture critics like Anita Sarkeesian for their double standards, but at this point it’s a little too late to make amends. Republicans are now looking to regulate an industry that Democrats, Leftists and those who identify as “Progressive” journalists attacked, belittled, censured and demonized for the last half decade.
(Main image courtesy of Blhaz)