Later today, President Trump will meet members of the video game industry to discuss violence in the medium and its possible link to real-life crimes such as the Florida shooting. After initially revealing it never received an invite, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) later said it would be attending. But there’s one large group that won’t be there, and it isn’t hiding its feelings on the issue.
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is the largest non-profit membership organization in the world serving all individuals who create games. The US-based organization aims to “advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community.”
Over on Twitter, the IGDA launched into a tweetstorm that defended video games and warned not to use them, or any form of media, as a scapegoat.
1/ Let's be blunt on video games and gun violence-we will not be used as a scapegoat. The facts are very clear-no study has shown a causal relationship between playing video games and gun violence.— International Game Developers Association (IGDA) (@IGDA) March 7, 2018
"The stereotype of gamers as disaffected teenage boys is simply untrue: 41% of the 150M+ gamers in the United States are women, and more women over 35 play videogames than boys under 18," the IGDA tweeted.
4/ The United States plays the same video games as the rest of the world, but we're unique in our problem with gun violence.— International Game Developers Association (IGDA) (@IGDA) March 7, 2018
6/ Overwhelmingly, we're law-abiding citizens who agree with the majority of Americans who support reasonable gun control measures like stronger background checks, banning bump stocks and high-capacity magazines, and a minimum purchase age of 21 for all firearms.— International Game Developers Association (IGDA) (@IGDA) March 7, 2018
The group finished with: "Making videogames—or any form of media—a scapegoat for consistently refusing to even CONSIDER the reasonable, rational firearm restrictions Americans want and deserve isn't fooling anyone."
Rhode Island State House member Robert Nardolillo and Kentucky governor Matt Bevin are just two of the names that have spoken out against video games and their supposed link to violent acts in the wake of the Florida attack.
Last month, it was reported that a 16-year-old Chicago boy had been banned from playing violent video games after he made a "joke" shooting threat on Snapchat.
While some studies have shown games can make kids more aggressive—a definition that covers actions such as making annoying noises at other players during online games—there’s no clear link between playing violent titles and behavior. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what, if anything, changes as a result of today’s meeting.