As many HEXUS readers will be aware, US President Trump held a meeting with games industry heads yesterday. The main contingent of industry representatives were members of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). In addition, there were representatives from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), from Rockstar Games, Take Two, ZeniMax Media (owns Bethesda), the Parents Television Council, and the Media Research Center.
The story behind Trump's attention turning to video game violence was explained in our previous article. He is looking for an alternative root cause for all the mass shootings that have taken place in the US in recent times. This latest 'action' was spurred by the terrible Parkland, Florida high school shooting, where 17 people, mostly students, lost their lives. Student protesters complained of the lack of action from politicians who routinely offer 'thoughts and prayers' after such events, yet refuse to try to implement policies which could prevent future similar occurences.
Warning, violent gaming footage with no age check
At the meeting on Thursday, to thrash out any potential connection between video games and actual violence, the above video was shown. This video has been cobbled together by someone at the White House from various other videos available on YouTube, for inclusion on the official White House channel. It contains violent and gory footage from a number of Call of Duty games, Sniper Elite, Fallout, Wolfenstein, and Dead By Daylight. However, no one thought about putting an age verification check on the clip compilation.
According to various sources who got to sit in at the closed meeting, Trump watched the video with the attendees before declaring "This is violent, isn't it?" Later it was suggested that the games industry might want to "explore things they can do on their own to make things healthier in society." However, there wasn't any firm talk about changing game ratings or content, for example.
A statement from the ESA in the wake of the meeting indicated that it had shared "numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence". Trump was said to be in listening mode at the meeting, but later the White House released a statement to say that "the President acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence." It was noted that young males are especially affected by video game violence. Additionally, a major concern of the president was about highly graphic violent games desensitising communities to violent acts.