Trade bodies urge Biden not to blame games

Trade bodies urge Biden not to blame games
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

January 11th 2013 at 7:32AM

IGDA, ESA, and EMA send letters to Vice President calling for a closer look at games

Multiple industry organizations have written open letters to US Vice President Joe Biden asking him not to blame video games for the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Vice President will be meeting with representatives from the ESA, pro-gun group the NRA, and the larger entertainment industry to seek advice on a solution to gun violence.

"With the recent tragedy on everyone's minds, some people are looking for a cause and culprit other than the shooter," wrote Electrontic Consumer Association vice president and general counsel Jennifer Mercurio.

"Unfortunately some are blaming media, including video games, for violent behavior in individuals. We know this isn't the case; banning or regulating media content even more won't solve the issue."

Earlier in the week, Electrionic Merchant Association interim president Mark Fisher wrote a similar letter saying that blaming video games and other media for the shooting was a distraction.

"EMA was sad - but not surprised - to see some blame gun massacres like the Newtown shooting on video games, motion pictures, and other forms of entertainment that contain depictions of violence," wrote Fischer.

"Make no mistake: blaming movies and video games is an attempt to distract the attention of the public from meaningful action that will keep our children safer."

The International Game Developers Association compared such a move to the comic book controversy in the 1950's.

"Censoring video games could have similar unintended consequences that we cannot currently foresee," said IDGA Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee chairman Daniel Greenberg.

"Ironically, comic books are now used as part of the solution to illiteracy, even by the government. It may seem counter-intuitive, but video games, even violent video games, could be part of the solution here, as well."

Some recent studies have shown no link, causal or statistical, between violence in games and real-world agression.

"While video game sales have increased, violent crime has been steadily decreasing according to FBI statistics," wrote Mercurio, citing a study by Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M International University.

In 2011, video game sales increased to over $27 billion dollars and violent crimes nationwide decreased 3.8 percent from 2010. Since 2002, violent crime has decreased 15.5 percent. This is all during the time when games like Call of Duty and Halo have dominated sales."

Discussion of the role games and other media play in violence flared up in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, and the NRA has openly placed the blame for gun violence on the media.