Video game researcher “cautiously optimistic” over Biden meeting

Saturday, 12 January 2013 17:32 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Members of the video game industry met with US VP Joe Biden yesterday at the White House to discuss how or if violent video games contribute to gun violence in the US.

Yesterday’s two-hour session marked day three of meetings with various representatives on both sides of the violence issue.

“I come to this meeting with no judgment,” Biden stated at the start of the meeting, per The Associated Press. “You all know the judgments other people have made. We’re looking for help.”

Biden said during the meeting that the administration was not trying to single out the video game industry.

Video game representatives present at the meeting alongside Biden, attorney general Eric Holder, and health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius were: the Entertainment Software Association’s president Michael Gallagher, EA CEO John Riccitiello, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman, ex-Epic Games president Mike Capps, and representatives from Activision and Take-Two.

Other participants in the meeting were Grand Theft Childhood co-author Cheryl Olson, Texas A&M researcher Christopher Ferguson a researcher from University Wisconsin at Madison, and a representative from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

“We know that there’s no silver bullet, no seat belt you can put on to assure that we will not be in this circumstance again, but I ask the cabinet to come together, because we know this is a complex problem,” Biden continued. “We know there is no single answer and quite frankly we don’t even know whether some of the things people think impact, actually impact on it or not.”

After the meeting, Texas A&M’s Christopher Ferguson, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the meeting’s outcome.

“Part of it was sort of a fact-finding thing for the VP,” he said, stating he felt Biden did his best to convey the meeting wasn’t “a witch hunt,” stating it was a smart move for the games industry to attend the meeting because shunning it would “have been a mistake.”

Ferguson’s research has shown that real-world violent behavior isn’t caused by violence in video games, and the industry doesn’t need to “necessarily change anything” it’s doing, but focus instead on “how it’s perceived by the public.”

“What the industry needs to do is take the vice president’s advice and really think about: what are some positive things that the industry can do? Public education campaigns about the ERSB rating systems, trying to avoid some blatant missteps like having a gun manufacturer as part of their website, that kind of stuff,” he said.

The White House has posted a video of the meeting, which is just over the 12-minute mark, and you can watch it on C-Span as well.