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US President wants Congress to “fund research” on violent video games

Wednesday, 16th January 2013 17:36 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

US President Barack Obama announced during a press conference today that he has tasked the Center for Disease Control to study the causes of violent behavior, and that Congress “should fund research into the effects violent video games,” on “young minds.”

Obama didn’t mention games much at all in the press briefing as it was mainly focused on the gun control issue.

“We don’t benefit from ignorance. We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence,” he said, before outlining his gun control wishlist for the House of Representatives to consider.

Obama wants Congress to hand over $10 million to the CDC to study the “relationship between video games, media images and violence.”

“The entertainment and video game industries have a responsibility to give parents tools and choices about the movies and programs their children watch and the games their children play,” the White House said in a statement to the Washington Times.

US VP Joe Biden met with various gaming industry experts and executives last week to hear its side of the violence games debate, and gain research material on the matter.

He said at the time he was not singling the industry out, as he had met with other pundits of entertainment mediums during the week.

A video is below – skip to the 30 minute mark to miss out on the dead air.

Thanks, Venture Beat.

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47 Comments

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  1. SlayerGT

    Jesus here we go.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. OlderGamer

    Better buckle up, could be a bumpy ride. Politicans from both political regimes are singling out games.

    It seems to me that if you are concerned about and trying to control gun violence, you might want to start with the guns. Or am I just going crazy in my old age?

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Stephany Nunneley

    Video added. Skip to 30 minute mark as it is full of dead air.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. onefivefive

    I’m alright with this. Perhaps it’s time a discussion on the effects of violent games is opened up.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    @4 *ten bazillion thumbs up*

    #5 1 year ago
  6. theevilaires

    Its official Biden and Obama have gotten there early copies of GTA5 and are addicted to the game and can’t put it down. Making the hardcore gangstas.

    This is what happens when you play GTA5 72 hours straight.
    http://ametia.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/pbo-biden-clinton-krunkin.gif

    #6 1 year ago
  7. OlderGamer

    I agree with onefivefive as well. However, it seems unfair to me to signel games out. The amount of gun violence on TV is staggering. Kids don’t live in bubbles, they don’t all consume G-rated TV, Music and Movies, and if not for video games their lives would be somehow free of violent influences.

    I think it may well be time to have a few meaningful studies. However I think it also smells of political grandstanding, scapegoatism all the while polishing your public(and political) image.

    Like I said start with Guns.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. absolutezero

    I thought it already had been.

    Multiple times.

    How ’bout those Video Nasties causing serial killers. How ’bout that Human Centipede 2. How ’bout that not learning from the past in the slightest.

    There have been multiple scientific examinations of video game violence on a variety of age groups, they have completely different results all over the board. One year it was certain they had an identifiable effect, the next they were perfectly safe.

    Much like Video Nasties and the Marquis de Sade.

    Lolita makes you pedo. True story look into it.

    My two nephews played Wii U Mario today for the first time, the resulting shit storm as both of them used the WiiU pad to create platforms specifically designed to kill one another was the closest I have come to seeing a video game incite violence.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. onefivefive

    I believe the conference was largely focused on reviewing gun control policies.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Stephany Nunneley

    @9 “Obama didn’t mention games again in the press briefing as it was mainly focused on the gun control issue.”

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Da Man

    I really look forward to them banning violent videogames and the rest of those shitty entertainment bullshit, perhaps all the ugly, barely articulate nerds will have to look elsewhere and read some books made of paper.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. DGOJG

    Correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t there already been several studies into effects of video games already?
    Why are the US even considering spending $10 million on this research when they have just avoided a fiscal cliff?

    Edit: Removed rest of my comment due to my misinterpretation of the proposed intentions of the research.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. onefivefive

    Are people reading the post before commenting?

    #13 1 year ago
  14. hives

    How about “Let’s teach parents how to control what their kids are playing because probably it’s a lot of 18+ games”.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. DSB

    @12 It’s to make themselves seem fair and balanced in the eyes of an opposition that has an entirely different view, isn’t it?

    If they didn’t do it, the Republicans could launch a campaign saying that they haven’t taken enough care to weigh all the options.

    I don’t really picture an educated person subscribing that kind of significance to entertainment media, but if the other side are using it as a smokescreen, then why not put a dent in it if you can, and strengthen your own argument?

    #15 1 year ago
  16. blackdreamhunk

    how about then they ban violent movies and books too like the bible,qurran and Torah.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. uomoartificiale

    @4 a “discussion” happens in a public arena within representative of the world of sociaty, culture and the arts. Funding research that basically cannot but say that there’s no connection between real violence and videogame violence (as clearly there’s no connection between real violence and movie violence), doesn’t amount to a “discussion”. It’s just a political bargain to make the majority of americans happy and concede to the irrationality of the right.
    The aggressive stance the far-right took against videogames lately is just to divert the attention from gun control regulation. This has nothing to do with a mature and fact-based discussion. I don’t necessarily like violent games or violent movies (quite the contrary, if you ask me), and I would be actually really interested in a “real” debate about the topic from a cultural standpoint. The only way to approach such a task would be to enlist the most brillant mind of our generation and stick to the facts. Sadly I don’t think that this is what it’s happening here.

    On a side note, the middle ground between one opinion on one side and some craziness on the other, is still not the truth. You need several diverging but QUALIFIED opinions on a issue to fruitfully debate and discuss. Otherwise you may easily end up trying to balance darwinism and creationism as they were on the same level. I really hope that this is not the kind of “balance” the violence in games debate is going to seek…

    #17 1 year ago
  18. SlayerGT

    @OG its like you read my mind. Couldn’t agree more.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Ireland Michael

    @10 Careful with the common sense there Steph. It might cause the community to implode in on itself.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. monkeygourmet

    Ban all consoles and games apart from Nintendo systems.

    Nintendo’s child like approach to gaming will help and their awful grasp of online gaming will stop pedophiles trying to ‘groom’ your children.

    And don’t worry about them getting hold of violent material, the e-shop is only activated when children are asleep.

    Worried about your child getting fat? Simply pop in Wii Fit, and hey presto, one healthy child.

    Kids nagging you in the car on the way to Grandma’s?

    Simply chuck them a couple of 3DS’s, that will shut them up! (Make sure you turn the 3D down, don’t want them to lose there eyesight and not be able to spot Pedophiles catching them!)

    Problem Solved

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Ireland Michael

    Its hilarious watching people making mountains out of molehills.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. onefivefive

    @21 Agreed. If we ever expect groups like the NRA to respect any question of gun policies, surely we must be open to the idea that violent games are looked at too. Fact is that there are MANY people out there who believe that violent games are to be blamed. It’s a responsible move to at least look into it. If it was my kid in one of those shootings you can be damn sure I’d want no stone unturned.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. Phoenixblight

    @22

    There have been multiple studies done with violent videos games and none are affiliated with the government which is good because government is not going to say “Hey we found nothing so all the money we spent on this has only shown us what other studies have shown so yeah sorry about all that tax money being spent on nada.”

    No they are going to skew the facts so they can get what they want.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. onefivefive

    @23 I respectfully disagree.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. uomoartificiale

    @22 because we really don’t know what to look for, we are at a loss, uh? Clearly we want “to leave no stone unturned”, otherwise how can we know what caused that tragic outcome. I think you americans are completely just out of any plausible reality and your idea of a “balanced approach” is to take into consideration absurdities coming from every source and then find the common ground. Guess what: it’s another absurdity!

    the discussion about videogame violence is a cultural endavior that should stay as close as possible to the source, that is the videogame development community, gamer community and critics. Do you want to open that discussion to the NRA?!

    #25 1 year ago
  26. onefivefive

    @25 If you’d like a brief idea of what a “Gamer community” discussion looks like I’d recommend taking a peak at the comments section of a recent VG247 post about the Devil May Cry fan backlash. I wouldn’t trust most of the gaming community with a pair of scissors.

    From what I can see the two fingers of blame from these shootings are being pointed at the access to guns and violent video games. Last I checked the NRA (and other gun lobby groups) have diverted their blame at violent video games. The president of the US has decided to fund research into games while also attempting to reform gun restrictions (no small task given the Republican attitude towards the Second Amendment). I feel this is an opportunity for the “gaming community” to be the mature group, lead by example and just, for the sake of the greater good, see this as an opportunity to take a step back and look at what we’re so desperately defending objectively and open a healthy discussion (research, field test, whatever),

    #26 1 year ago
  27. monkeygourmet

    How can a government or any organisation complain about violent games when gaming’s current ‘poster boy’, Call of Duty is the most accessible form of gun violence currently available.

    Underage Call of Duty players are rife, it regularly contains missions that are provocative or sensationalise violence without being thought provoking.

    (I haven’t got a problem with this by the way)

    It makes me laugh.

    It’s like when people complain about child hood obesity when places like McDonalds and their business practices are never questioned.

    The only thing ever likely to arise from this is games will gather some form of taxation. I.E. violent games will be lumped in with booze and cigarettes, nothing will change but a lot of people will make a lot more money.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. monkeygourmet

    We know its fucking stupid for young kids to play violent games or watch violent films.

    We know its fucking stupid to let kids eat shit and stay in front of the TV, no studies are needed.

    However, filling people’s heads with shit TV and advertising then complaining when bad things happen in later life is a bit fucking rich.

    It’s all a reflection on society we (or so called governments) have created.

    If you don’t like it, don’t fuck it up in the first place.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. absolutezero

    http://youtu.be/XCywGhHQMEw

    #29 1 year ago
  30. DSB

    @27 Can’t be done.

    Videogames are expression, and while you can tax the production of those, you can’t actually tax videogames for portraying something specific, without violating the First Amendment.

    “You can show whatever you want, but if you show something like this, we’ll need a dollar”.

    Would never hold up. Booze and cigarettes aren’t protected by the constitution as far as I know.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. monkeygourmet

    @29

    :D

    Great show!

    @30

    Hopefully not, weird shit can happen though, especially when you scare the shit out of idiots.

    Modern day witch hunts are a complete reality, thankfully games just bring in so much revenue these days they are probably pretty safe.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. Emabulator

    Great work Stephany!

    #32 1 year ago
  33. Cobra951

    Let’s ban violent videogames. But why stop there? What about the effects of sex in videogames? Maybe we need to ban that as well. But why stop there? What about the effects of violence in movies and TV shows? Let’s ban that. Oh, wait. Sex is a lot more prevalent in movies and especially cable-TV shows. If we’re going to ban videogame sex, we have to ban sex in other media as well, for even better reasons. But why stop there? Once these things get banned, the violence will continue unabated anyway. So we have to find new scapegoats. How about books? I hear books have been getting by unscathed for many years. Isn’t it time we looked at that? Burn them! Make a big bonfire in every city, and burn all media with violence or sex.

    Oh, but wait. There’s this nasty First Amendment that says we can’t do that. Shit! We HAVE to do something about that. Constitutional convention! Let’s do away with this troublesome freedom of speech. It’s destroying our schools! It’s destroying our kids!

    #33 1 year ago
  34. onefivefive

    @33 Have you ever considered joining the NRA?

    #34 1 year ago
  35. Ireland Michael

    @33 This was an tiny part of a long conversation, 99% of which actually *was* about gun control laws.

    I have to wonder if anyone actually bothered to watch the video.

    This whole thing is a case of the media picking something for the sake of some easy, sensationalist journalism.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. Cobra951

    @34, no, given that I don’t own any firearms. Not sure what that has to do with threatened censorship of an artform, though.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. Stephany Nunneley

    @32 Thanks! <3

    #37 1 year ago
  38. onefivefive

    @36 Nobody said anything about censorship. And if gamers are so unwilling to allow their artform to be inspected then we’re every bit as problematic as the gun toting Second Amendment bashing NRA whackjobs.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. monkeygourmet

    @38

    Of course you can inspect them, as long as you also inspect things like showing the 360 control pad controlling a Bombing Drone on the UK Army recruitment adverts.

    #39 1 year ago
  40. onefivefive

    @39 Well not really. Considering that has absolutely nothing to do with, say, the effect of a game like Call of Duty will have on a nine year old boy who plays an average of four hours per day over the course of two years.

    #40 1 year ago
  41. onefivefive

    @39 Also, UK advertisement has nothing to do with US inquiry.

    #41 1 year ago
  42. Gekidami

    The ESA has issued a response:
    http://www.gamepolitics.com/2013/01/16/esa-issues-statement-president-obamas-call-cdc-research-video-games#.UPcedyd2Qj4

    #42 1 year ago
  43. onefivefive

    @42 Good news. Hope we learn a lot from this.

    @39 If you get a moment I highly recommend this little article (literally only three minutes worth of reading in it).

    http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/after-tragedy-its-healthy-to-talk-about-our-culture-of-violence

    #43 1 year ago
  44. NeoSquall

    I’m speechless.
    There have been almost ten other studies in the last years on this subject, yet Obama is going to use taxpayers money to fund another.
    I wonder is sen. Rockefeller’s proposed study will still be reintroduced on the next Senate session.

    #44 1 year ago
  45. monkeygourmet

    @43

    Thanks for the article link. Just had a read, although I didn’t real feel it did anything ultimately.

    No research is needed regarding a nine year old boy playing COD everyday, the same way we don’t really need anymore research surrounding shitty foods poisoning our children.

    For society to move on much bigger factors need to be tackled first, you are literally chipping away a tiny bit of ice off the iceberg focussing on this.

    To judge the recent tragedy (or any for that matter), you have to study a huge amount of variables and analyse what may have caused a trigger. It gets even more complex when studying brain states, emotional distress or abuse etc…

    You end up going down a rabbit hole with it although I see why people always want to find a reason “why?”

    #45 1 year ago
  46. DSB

    @44 Try to look at the broader context though.

    It’s no secret that Republicans have little to no respect for science.

    Almost 50% of Americans reject the theory of evolution in favor of a collection of mostly unsupported personal accounts from 2000 years ago, and I guarantee you a considerable majority of those guys are Republican voters. They don’t like being told how stupid they are by politicans, so instead the politicians pretend to be stupid themselves.

    In other words, any study that doesn’t have specific, Republican fingerprints on it, which you can remind them of in an argument, is utterly invalid, because science means nothing to them, because science means nothing to their voters.

    I definitely see this in the context of trying to create a definition of the issue, where even the Republicans can’t run from scientific fact, and that’s definitely a good thing. I don’t see a single indication that Democrats truly seem to agree with them, or buy their premise.

    #46 1 year ago
  47. GwynbleiddiuM

    This is worth watching, or reading whichever you prefer. http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/16/the-politics-of-violence

    #47 1 year ago