Trump to hold video game violence meeting

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U.S. President Donald J. Trump is bringing video games company representatives and games critics together to discuss potential links between electronic games and real-life violence.

Three unconfirmed sources told The Washington Post that the CEO of ZeniMax, the owner of popular video games series Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, along with the CEO of Take Two Interactive, the owners of the controversial Grand Theft Auto series, are attending. The trade association of the U.S. video games industry, the Entertainment Software Association, is the only one to confirm its attendance (Washington Post) at the meeting expected to be held at 14:00 ET on Thursday.

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The Post also says that some of the industry’s strictest critics, including the founder of the censorship advocacy group, Parents Television Council, and Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler will be present at the meeting, according to the three undisclosed sources.

Trump previously linked violence in electronic games and movies with real-life actions, during the recent meeting on school safety at the White House, which involved survivors of February’s Florida shooting (New York Times). He said: “I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.”

Trump is not the first U.S. president to question links between violence portrayed in video games with real-world bloodshed. After the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, which was the deadliest mass shooting at either a high school or grade school in U.S. history, President Barack Obama said: “Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds.” (USA Today)

Academic debate about games links with violence remains controversial and unclear.

Questions we’d like to explore, include:

  • What is the history of previous shootings followed by criticism of video games?
  • What have U.S. president’s views on video games and violence been?

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