President Trump is scheduled to meet with “members of the video game industry” next week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced today. There were no details about the meeting, such as who might be in attendance, but it will focus on “what they [the industry]” can do about America’s gun violence problem.
The Entertainment Software Association, the chief lobbying group for the video game industry, did not respond to an immediate request for comment about the meeting. [Update: See below for the ESA's newly-released statement.]
In the wake of last month’s high school shooting in Florida, an anxious nation has quietly wondered when an administration happy to spend time, money, and resources handing out tax cuts to the rich and taking away health insurance from the poor might consider doing something—anything—about our mass shooting epidemic.
Instead, Trump has suggested everything from taking away the rights of due process to wondering if maybe those darn games might be the real source of a problem plaguing a nation that did nothing after 20 elementary school kids were gunned down in 2012.
"We have to look at the Internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed, and we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it," said Trump this week.
This isn't the first time Trump has weighed in on this question, either.
"I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts,” he said. “And you go the further step, and that’s the movies. You see these movies, and they’re so violent. And yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that."
Finally, video games might get a ratings system!
Updated, 7 PM March 1: The ESA made the following statement in response to these reports.
ESA and our member companies have not received an invitation to meet with President Trump.
The same video games played in the US are played worldwide; however, the level of gun violence is exponentially higher in the US than in other countries. Numerous authorities have examined the scientific record and found there is no link between media content and real-life violence.
The US video game industry has a long history of partnering with parents and more than 20 years of rating video games through the Entertainment Software Rating Board. We take great steps to provide tools to help players and parents make informed entertainment decisions.” – Entertainment Software Association – March 1, 2018
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