violence Obama Administration Orders Study on Violent Video Games

The Obama Administration is calling for millions of dollars for studies on video game violence.  Many critics of violent video games feel that virtual violence translates into real-world violence, even though past research proves contrary.

On January 16, 2013, the White House Office issued a brief outline on what the Obama Administration will be pursuing to combat gun violence in the U.S.  The 23-point plan is titled, “Now Is the Time:  The President’s Plan to Protect our Children and our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence”.

Just recently Vice President Joe Biden met with many video game makers to see what they were willing to do in helping to conduct research on violent video games.  Some of the men Biden met with included Electronic Arts CEO, John Riccitiello along with Entertainment Software Association’s Michael Gallagher. Part of those talks included in the outline calls on the Center for Disease Control to begin studies on video game violence.  President Obama will also be calling on Congress to allocate 10 million dollars for the CDC to begin the research

Almost immediately following the Sandy Hook shooting incident, many critics of video games began their onslaught on the games saying that virtual violence will incite real-world violence.  Less than a week after the shooting, West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill that called on the National Academy of Sciences to look at violent video games’ effects on children’s behavior.  "Major corporations, including the video game industry, make billions on marketing and selling violent content to children," Rockefeller said on his personal website. "They have a responsibility to protect our children. If they do not, you can count on the Congress to take a more aggressive role." 

Rockefeller’s video game bill was killed on January 3, 2013; however, reports suggest that he might soon be resubmitting the bill, however, Rockefeller’s resubmission may not matter now since the White House has their own outline asking for the same thing.  Many critic of the research, such as the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), feel that it is a waste of taxpayer dollars, citing past research proving that video games do not incite real-life violence in children.

The ESA has replied to the White House outline saying that past scientific research shows that video games do not cause violence to erupt in young people in real-life situations.  "ESA appreciates President Obama's and Vice President Biden's leadership and the thoughtful, comprehensive process of the White House Gun Violence Commission,” the ESA writes in part. “The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world.”

Even though the ESA does not agree with the research effort, they have agreed to cooperate with the Obama Administration in other ways.  The ESA says they will be offering a ‘constructive role’ with the government in helping to reach some sort of national dialogue in regards to actual gun violence. 

Consumers spent nearly 25 billion dollars on video games in 2011 and, on average; every home has at least one video game console.  In 2012 the biggest selling video game was Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II.  In fact the Black Ops franchise made it to that #1 spot for four years running.  Activision reported that on its opening sales day in November 2012, Black Ops II sold over one million copies, which broke many video game sales records.