Vice President Biden offers 'no judgment' on game industry

Vice President Joe Biden met with various representatives of the video game industry on Friday, and made it clear he was not singling it out or treating it as a scapegoat.


Following a shooting in Connecticut that left the country seeking answers, the National Rifle Association (NRA) cited media violence, and more specifically video game violence, as a part of the problem. Vice President Joe Biden has been talking to various industry groups, including the NRA, movie and television industries, and retailers. On Friday it was the game industry's turn, and the VP said he came to the meeting without preconceptions or accusations.

"We know this is a complex problem," he said. "We know there's no single answer, and quite frankly we don't even know whether some of the things people think impact on this impact on it or not. So I want you to know you have not been 'singled out' for help.

"I come to this meeting with no judgment," he said, adding, "you all know the judgments other people have made." He later said that the government is simply "looking for help" in formulating a plan, and indicated that violence in video games may be a product of our culture.

"There's no measure that I'm aware of to determine whether or not there's a coarsening of our culture in a way that is not healthy," he said. "I don't know the answer to that question, and I'm not sure what kind of impact it would have or wouldn't have on the events we're looking at. But I wanted to tell you what we're about."

The games industry, in response, cited its own data on game violence, the AP reports. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) noted in a statement after the meeting that it had told Biden that independent research has found "no causal connection" between games and real-life violence. It also noted that violent crime among young people has fallen since the early 1990s as video games have increased in popularity.

"We also recognized that gun violence is a serious problem in our country," the statement read. The group said it wanted to help formulate "meaningful solutions."

The meeting showed a wide range of involvement. Besides the ESA, attendees included representatives from Activision Blizzard, EA, Epic Games, GameStop, Take-Two, and Zenimax, along with the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), and various universities. Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were also in attendance.

Letters from the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) also urged Biden not to treat video games as a scapegoat for the violence, comparing the possibility of regulation today to comic book censorship in the 1950s.

Biden says he is hoping to prepare a comprehensive proposal on gun violence for President Obama by tomorrow, based on his various industry meetings and independent research conducted over the last ten years.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 14, 2013 12:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Vice President Biden offers 'no judgment' on game industry.

    Vice President Joe Biden met with various representatives of the video game industry on Friday, and made it clear he was not singling it out or treating it as a scapegoat.

    • reply
      January 14, 2013 12:24 PM

      Looking forward to the proposal. Sounds like he's taking this seriously and not just jumping on the bandwagon, which i didn't expect him to anyhow.

    • reply
      January 14, 2013 12:30 PM


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      January 14, 2013 1:55 PM

      In other news, Biden is still a moron. Film at 11.

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      January 14, 2013 2:40 PM

      just found out via Twitter that the NRA have released their own shooting game for iOS.. and it is rated 4+

      ofcourse, it is not 'violent' because all the shooting in the game is 'safe' and takes place at gun ranges and outdoor shooting is restricted to inanimate objects...

      talk of hypocrisy eh ?

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        January 14, 2013 2:55 PM

        Hm, that doesn't sound particularly hypocritical to me. It's a pretty far cry (no pun intended -- ok fine, pun partly intended) from tapping your phone screen to shoot bullseyes at a simulated gun range to running around shooting at other people in most of the FPS games these folks think contribute so vigorously to spree shootings.

        I mean.. no! FUCK THE NRA.

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          January 14, 2013 3:07 PM

          the point here being that on one hand they claim that kids shouldnt play games or watch anything that glorifies the use of guns or makes them look cool...
          and then go on to release a 4+ rated game that uses the said guns..

          that was the hypocrisy i was referring to.. i do admit your point in that their game is different to most of the other gun-toting games out in the market.. but then those games arent rated 4+

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            January 14, 2013 5:12 PM

            Plenty of parents teach their less-than-10-year-old child to shoot .22 rifles (especially NRA parents). While I would certainly never do that, lots of people believe it is possible to teach children gun safety and respect in a good controlled environment. Coming from this perspective it is neither surprising nor hypocritical. From the perspective of gun critics who don't see it as a viable form of recreation (similar to, say, archery), then yeah, this looks pretty bad.

            The difference in viewpoints is the definition of "glorification" of guns. To gun enthusiasts, unhealthy "glorification" = killing people. To gun critics, unhealthy "glorification" = anything to do with guns.

            I'd like to think I understand both viewpoints pretty well, and I do think the NRA is taking more heat in this particular instance than they deserve. With that said, fuck the NRA because I hate what they try to do with gun laws.

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              January 14, 2013 8:11 PM

              I think this is a reasonably good breakdown. I've been shooting since I was ~7. I've had my own .22 since I was 9.

              I can see why people might think that something like COD was a little too realistic for their kids to play to a point. I can see why people are afraid of guns in general, although I don't agree with being afraid of anything that you're not familiar with how it works and stay willingly ignorant about it but so be it.

              I think this app is not bad, and it does seem to place safety right out there in front of you - I wish they went into a little more detail as to WHY the rules are what they are, but at least there's something on all the loading screens.

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            January 14, 2013 5:42 PM

            wasn't lapierre's stupid tiraid about violent video games though?

            I was taught how to shoot before I was ten but I was given instructions and guidance.

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      January 14, 2013 3:07 PM

      I can't believe we now have screenshots and video of John Riccitiello sitting next to the Vice President of the United States of America (even if the person holding that office happens to be Joe Biden).

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      January 14, 2013 7:43 PM

      it's weird how there's a giant blank space in the middle of the chatty

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      January 14, 2013 7:56 PM

      Chivalry however will be blamed for all future stabbings, slashes, blunt force trauma, beheadings, and arson.

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      January 14, 2013 9:01 PM

      best shacknews frontpage thread of 2013, calling it

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      January 15, 2013 4:14 AM

      Is the quality of poster decreasing? Or what is going on? Maybe its always like this.

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        January 15, 2013 4:34 AM

        Front page article makes it a bit worse.

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