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CEO DATELINE – Video game association CEO disputes alleged link between games, violence

June 12, 2018
By Walt Williams

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The head of the Entertainment Software Association said Monday that violent video games are not linked to recent school shootings, as has been suggested by the leadership of the National Rifle Association.

Speaking to reporters, ESA CEO Mike Gallagher disputed comments by NRA President Oliver North that video games contribute to a “culture of violence” that inspire school shootings such as the recent shootings in Santa Fe, Texas, and Parkland, Fla.

“We know the NRA makes those arguments,” Gallagher said, as reported by Fortune magazine. “We also know they’re going to bear the burden of history. We will continue to be successful with policy makers as the industry continues to grow.”

ESA is holding is annual E3 trade show this week in Los Angeles. The recent school shootings have raised questions among some commentators about what role violent games contribute to such incidents. At the same time, the video game industry was recently put on the defensive after one developer released a game called “Active Shooter,” which allowed players to simulate school shootings as both the shooter and SWAT officers tasked with stopping the shooter.

Gallagher met an online retailer that decided to pull the game from its website and said afterward the company was motivated to do the right thing, The Seattle Times reported.

“‘Active Shooter’ is not the industry,” he said.

As for the question of video games and violence, the American Psychological Association issued a statement in 2015 summarizing the research on the issue and concluded there is a direct association between video games and aggressive behavior. However, the group noted aggression can take different forms and that not all aggression is violence.

“Insufficient research has examined whether violent video game use causes lethal violence,” APA said.