In the wake of multiple, horrific mass shootings over the weekend, President Donald Trump has condemned “gruesome and violent video games” for contributing to the “glorification of violence in our society.”
The shootings, which took place in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, are thought to have left at least 31 dead, and many more injured. A number of high profile figures in the video game industry were quick to criticise Trump’s framing of video games as one of the causes for the tragedy as inaccurate and irresponsible.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) issued a statement in response to Trump’s comments, claiming that “More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide.”
They continued; “Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S. Video games contribute to society, from new medical therapies and advancements, educational tools, business innovation, and more.”
Meanwhile, Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption publisher Take-Two Interactive also hit out at Trump’s claims. CEO Strauss Zelnick told The Hollywood Reporter that “blaming entertainment is both irresponsible, and disrespectful to the victims and their families.”
“Entertainment is consumed worldwide. It’s the same worldwide. Gun violence is uniquely American and we need to address the real issues.”
God of War director Cory Barlog also offered his take on the situation via Twitter, pointing out that the relatively relaxed gun control laws in the US are probably more to blame than video games or mental illness.
Wait…that’s it??? Violent video games and mental health? Not the high powered weapons of war being sold to civilians by the millions that are actually being USED to carry out these acts of domestic terror??
Back in March 2018, the President invited members of congress, parent’s groups, and a number of video game executives and members of the ESA to the White House to discuss the effect gaming might have on consumers.
Said meeting reportedly amounted to Trump showing a reel consisting of a number of violent video game clips taken out of context, followed by a roundtable in an attempt to come up with a “solution” for violent games.
Wait…that's it??? Violent video games and mental health? Not the high powered weapons of war being sold to civilians by the millions that are actually being USED to carry out these acts of domestic terror??
— Cory Barlog 🎮 (@corybarlog) August 5, 2019
As Trump pledges to crack down on violent video games in an effort to reduce mass shootings, the rest of the world watches on and wonders when exactly those in charge are going to stop blaming mental illness, video games, and anything in between, and start looking at the tragically obvious root of the problem.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.