The Entertainment Software Association has weighed in on this weekend’s debate about video games causing gun violence, citing scientific studies that have proven the two have no relationship to each other.
This weekend, almost 30 people lost their lives in two separate mass shootings, one in El Paso, TX, and one in Dayton, OH. In the wake of the violence, some republican politicians have once again blamed video games for the shootings, including President Donald Trump.
Now, according to Gameinformer, the video game advocacy group ESA has issued an official statement in response to the ongoing debate.
"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. 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 quote calls out scientific studies that have proven “no casual connection between video games and violence” and points out many of the ways video games have come to contribute to society in a more positive way. The statement also echoes a sentiment shared by US Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Twitter today.
People suffer from mental illness in every other country on earth; people play video games in virtually every other country on earth.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 5, 2019
The difference is the guns.
These comments state clearly the fact that billions of people play video games worldwide in almost every country on the planet, and that none of these countries suffer from the scale of gun violence that the United States currently does. None of this stopped Trump's comments from having a noticeable effect on the industry today, as Wall Street saw drops in gaming stock.
The pushback from game industry supporters leading up to the ESA’s comments today caused the phrase “Video Games are not to Blame” to trend on Twitter. The hashtag included posts from folks that showed the logical inconsistencies of the argument, similar to the ones that Clinton and the ESA made.
Many folks expected the ESA to weigh in. The group exists to support and advocate for the industry through the use of statistics, research, and a familiarity with games. It often weighs in on issues that attack games, like last year when the World Health Organization classified video game addiction as a mental health disorder.
On issues like this one, the group’s voice matters. Many statements made by Republican leaders over the past two days haven’t come with concrete support or statistics to back up the claims. Many see the remarks as a diversion and feel that those making them don’t have a view of the industry as a whole.
The ESA has a deeper understanding of all of the ways games can impact society, and the ways the technology surrounding games has made its way into other industries. It touched on this in its comments about educational tools and business innovations. It also linked to a website that puts the tools in the parents hands to make sure they know what kinds of games their children are playing.
Source: Game Informer