It’s been a busy week for the ESA, who, fresh from implementing new loot box regulations, have weighed in on US President Donald Trump’s allegations that video game violence is contributing to the spate of mass shootings Stateside.
The Entertainment Software Association have responded to Trump’s claims, refusing the argument that there is a proven link between violent video games and violent behaviour. They’re armed with a bucketload of evidence as well, not least because there are plenty of other countries where tons of video games are played and the level of gun crime is incomparable to the USA.
“As we shared at the White House video game meeting in March 2018, numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence," wrote the ESA in a statement.
"More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. 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 positively contribute to society, from new medical therapies and advancements, educational tools, business innovation, and more. Video games help players connect with family and friends, relieve stress, and have fun. We encourage parents who have concerns about age-appropriate video game content to visit ParentalTools.org to learn more how to control what games are played in their homes.”
The ESA are out there doing their job, basically, which is defending the video games industry. There’s a little more nuance at play here than they make out (namely military glorification and the likes of Call of Duty actively funding weapons manufacturers), but repeated studies have shown there is little to no link to a rise in aggression from playing violent games. I think advertising real-life weapons is a very different prospect from video game violence though, so we have to draw a distinction there. If the US government wants to tackle something, it should be the representation and fetishisation of the weapons themselves rather than the inherent violence.
We’ve already delved into the silliness at play here but the bottom line is this is yet another smoke and mirrors trick designed to distract from the real issues at play. You know, I know, Trump knows it. It’s a handy trick to get the public talking about games while the media sadly moves on from the tragic events themselves at Dayton and El Paso.