Riccitiello: Game violence about perceptions

Riccitiello: Game violence about perceptions
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

January 31st 2013 at 6:27AM

EA can be 'part of that solution,' says CEO

As the nation's public and lawmakers alike take yet another look at the issue of violence in games, EA CEO John Riccitiello has voiced his opinion, saying it's not about games, but perceptions.

Earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Riccitiello and other industry playmakers, warning them of the need to change public percetions of gaming.

It's been more than a year since the Supreme Court's decision granting games full first amendment protections, but still some lawmakers insist that something must be done to protect American children from what they call the threat of violent media.

Riccitiello thinks its about time the industry - which he called "mature" and "responsible" - did more to change their minds.

"It's not about games, there's a perception issue. We can be a part of that solution, and we're ready to do that," said the CEO when asked by an analyst if he thought violence in games could be having a negative effect on sales.

With organized groups boycotting or seeking to destroy violent games in the wake of December's Sandy Hook shooting, it seems a fair question.

Still, Riccitiello thinks the battle over the facts has already been won, and all that remains is to press on and win the fight for public influence.

“I could give you long stories about how people in Denmark or the UK or Ireland or Canada consume as much or more violent games and violent media as they do in the United States, and yet they have an infinitely smaller incidence of gun violence, but that's not really the point,” he said.

“The point is that direct studies that have been done, hundreds of millions of dollars of research that has been done has been unable to find a linkage because there isn't one."

Riccitiello pointed to the Supreme Court ruling as evidence that even those who have very likely never touched a game can be won over, but suggested that the greater sturggle would be to bring the same facts before the mainstream press.

"Having said all of that and with all - if you will - humility about the world we live in, we understand that while there may not be an actual problem, given all the finger-pointing going on in the press, there appears to be the perception of a problem, and we do have to wrestle with that," he said.

"Ours is an industry with an association that has risen to that call many times before, and will, as we move forward. We're responsible, we're mature, we intend to be part of the solution."