[UPDATE] The ESA said in a statement today that it hopes to have a “fact-based conversation” with White House officials this week to discuss “video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices.”
“Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and real-life violence,” the ESA said. “Like all Americans, we are deeply concerned about the level of gun violence in the United States. Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation. The upcoming meeting at the White House, which ESA will attend, will provide the opportunity to have a fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices.”
The original story is below.
During a White House press briefing last week, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump will meet with “members of the video game industry” to discuss video game violence in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. At the time, the ESA–which represents some of the industry’s major publishers–said it had not heard about any meeting with the White House. Now, the ESA has confirmed it will attend a White House meeting this week, but there are still quite a few unanswered questions about what will happen and who will attend.
In a statement to Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, the ESA suggested its conversation with White House officials will extend beyond video games alone. “Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation,” the group said.
The ESA did not say if representatives from any of its members will attend the White House meeting this week. Some of its members include huge, powerful gaming companies such as Activision, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Electronic Arts, among many others. At the very least, we would expect ESA president Michael Gallagher to attend the meeting.
On the other side, we don’t know if President Trump himself will meet with the ESA or if it will be Vice President Mike Pence or other elected officials. We have contacted the ESA in an attempt to get more details about this week’s White House meeting.
After the Parkland shooting, Trump hosted a meeting at the White House to discuss school safety, and among the subjects that came up were the level of violence in video games and movies. In his White House meeting in February, Trump said he has heard from “more and more people” that “the level of violence in video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.”
After the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, then-Vice President Joe Biden met with members of the video game industry executives such as then-EA CEO John Riccitiello to discuss the link between violent video games and gun violence as part of a wider task force into gun control measures. Gallagher, the ESA president, was also at this meeting.