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Trump Accomplishes Nothing at Meeting with Video Game Executives

Earlier today, the President of the United States, Donald Trump met with several representatives from the video game industry as well as several anti-violence in gaming advocates to discuss the effects and influence video games have on children. The meeting came about as a result of the recent mass shooting that occurred at Parkland High School in Florida. Trump seems to feel there is some sort of correlation between the violence in games and the mental instability of would-be mass murderers and put together the meeting to address these issues. However, it would appear that not much, if anything, happened today as a result of the hour-long meeting.

Attendees included members from both sides of the aisle. ESA President Mike Gallagher, Zenimax (Fallout, Elder Scrolls) CEO Robert Altman, and Take Two (Grand Theft Auto) CEO Strauss Zelnick, represented the game industry at large while Parents TV Council rep Melissa Henson, Lt. Col Dave Grossman (writer, Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing) attended on behalf of those who believe that the violence in games is helping to drive the violence plaguing American society. 

Apparently, though, nothing really happened during the meeting. The President showed off an 88-second supercut of violent scenes from video games and commented on how visceral they were. There does not appear that there was much time spent in discussion of problems or solutions during the meeting. As of right now, no one's really sure what, if anything, was accomplished by the whole thing. 

Those in attendance said there was very little discussion of any sort of new government restrictions or policies and that the discussion focused more on what the video game industry could do voluntarily to self-regulate. According to a quote credited to the ESA on The Verge, the video game reps weren't really budging on anything:

“We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House. We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry’s rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices.”

The White House released their own statement regarding today's meeting as well:

“During today’s meeting, the group spoke with the President about the effect that violent video games have on our youth, especially young males. The President acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence. The conversation centered on whether violent video games, including games that graphically simulate killing, desensitize our community to violence.”

What's interesting about this statement is the President citing studies that correlate violence in video games to real-life violence, because those studies do not exist. Many studies that have attempted to find such a correlation does exist, but none have ever been successful in finding an actual link between the two. 

Many are speculating that the meeting is merely a distraction tactic to draw attention away from the recent controversy surrounding mass shootings in America and the role that certain types of guns have played in each one. Recently, the NRA has come under heavy scrutiny and the White House may be trying to use this as an opportunity to pass the buck, so to speak.

After the meeting, the White House posted the 88-second montage of violent games to YouTube. However, they did not provide an age gate. Hopefully, no young, impressionable children happen upon it.

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