Today, President Donald Trump met up with several politicians and video game industry leaders to discuss the impact of violent games on children and whether it is connected to gun violence. This roundtable discussion included company representatives from Bethesda, Take-Two, Rockstar, and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), as well as vocal critics of violent media like founder of the Parents Television Council Brent Bozell, and Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Republican Congresswoman from Missouri.
According to Rolling Stone, the hour-long meeting began with Trump demonstrating a video reel to the group. These clips depicted violent scenes from games that no one in the room could name. The videos were “so violent it shocked some in the group to silence,” writes Rolling Stone. Following these clips, Trump asked all in attendance for their thoughts. Attendees say the meeting was more of a listening session than anything else. Future meetings are a possibility.
“They started by showing some violent video games and [Trump] was pointing out how violent those scenes were. I think for many of us there, there was a shocked silence,” says Parents Television Council spokesperson Melissa Henson, in a press call after the session. “Those from the video game industry were quick to defend [the video games] saying they were meant for a mature audience and that they weren’t intended for kids to see.”
Rolling Stone reports that The Parents Television Council was quick to say early in the meeting that there is in fact a correlation between real-life violence and violent video games. That claim comes despite numerous studies that expressly defy that conclusion, along with clear statements from the ESA stating that there is no proven connection.
It’s unclear if Trump has further plans to discuss or address the issue.
[Source: Rolling Stone]
For many game players, the concept of a real-world connection between gun violence and video games is a tired and well-trod argument with very little evidence to back it up, and no relation to our own experience of socializing and enjoying the hobby. It’s easy to feel exasperated and frustrated by the attempts to politicize an entertainment medium that feels like it has no place in the broader conversation about violence in society.