EA on increasing gun violence: 'It's not about games. There is a perception issue.'
Electronic Arts, like most involved in the gaming industry, don't feel there is any correlation between violent video games and the increased gun violence happening in America. During the company's Q3 2013 financial results, EA CEO John Riccitiello squashed the notion that recent events, like the Aurora shooting or Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, resulted in any "softness around first-person shooters or more mature-rated games." I'd argue it was the generic gameplay of Medal of Honor: Warfighter that led to a poor quarter, but that's a totally different topic.
In recent months, many have been quick to attack the gaming industry for its portrayal in violent video games. Even fantasy games have been blamed, with World of Warcraft being reported as one of the games that mass killer James Holmes (Aurora) had frequently played -- as if slaying dragons and goblins somehow relates, or leads, to viciously murdering innocent civilians. It goes beyond that though; even the NRA -- in an attempt to deflect criticism -- has blamed the gaming industry. Some have gone as far as trying to ban the release of Grand Theft Auto -- because we all know it's the game that kills people, not the guns.
Despite the concerns raised by a few absent-minded senators and right-wing nutbags, EA has not seen any softness in the FPS sector.
"I have got a somewhat unique advantage point here working at EA and also sharing the ESRB and the ESA. Some reasonable exposure to the goings-on in Washington," EA CEO John Riccitiello acknowledged. "I want to underline the first point. The game industry is a very mature, responsible industry, moreso than you might otherwise imagine. First off, we are very confident in the quality of our content and the lack of an actual factual linkage to any of the actual violence that takes place in America or markets around the world."
"There's no doubt, we like you, were stunned and horrified by the violence in Connecticut or Colorado or many other places over the years. But there has been an enormous amount of research done in the entertainment field about looking for linkages between entertainment content and actual violence, and they haven't found any," he defended. "The point is that direct studies have been done, hundreds of millions of dollars of research have been done, has been unable to find a linkage because there isn't one."
"And that went all the way up to the Supreme Court this past summer. A number of folks had summarized the available data provided at the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court came out in favor of effectively stating that we deserve all the First Amendment right freedoms that are accorded to any media. And a key part of that is I think they were swayed by the evidence that was presented to them of all these studies."
"We are responsible, we are mature, and we intend to be part of the solution. Our media reaches literally every American, and that can be used as a voice for good," Riccitiello concluded. "It's not about games. There is a perception issue. We can be part of that solution, and we are ready to step up to do that."
Do you think mature games, like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty, have led to an increase in gun violence in the U.S.?