The president of the United States of America seems to think video game violence might have something to do with mass shootings like the recent one at a school in Parkland, Florida. To investigate the possible connection, Trump announced last week he would meet with video game executives for a discussion. The only problem? Last week, video game executives hadn’t gotten the invite.
That’s changed now. This week the White House contacted video game trade group the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) to set up the discussion. The meeting will take place at the White House on Thursday, March 8.
Why the meeting is happening in the first place is unclear. Authorities have made no mention of video games in connection with the Parkland shooting or other recent mass shootings.
During a recent meeting at the White House about school safety, Trump said, “We have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it.” He added, “I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.”
Trump also mentioned the need for ratings to inform parents about violent content in movies and video games. Rating systems for both forms of media already exist, so it’s unclear what new action he was suggesting.
If the White House wants to make a move against video games, the ESA appears ready for a fact-based fight. “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 association 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 U.S. has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation.”
Given that neither law enforcement nor researchers have raised concerns about video games, industry watchers wonder if the White House meeting is merely a distraction from the lack of movement on significant gun control legislation in the wake of the latest shootings.