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Riccitiello: current political climate is "not about games," but a "perception issue"

EA CEO John Riccitiello fielded a question related to FSP and gun violence during the firm's Q3 FY13 call to investors last night, stating there has already been an "enormous amount of research done" regarding whether there is a link to real-world violence and video games.

Riccitiello began by stating he had hoped "we weren't going to do this question," and that the latest controversy has not has a softening impact on sales in the FPS sector.

"I would say, I've got a somewhat unique advantage or vantage point here, working at EA and also chairing the ESRB and the ESA," he said. "Some reasonable exposure to the goings-on in Washington. I want to underline the first point. The game industry is a very mature, responsible industry, more so than you might otherwise imagine.

"First off, we're very confident in the quality of our content and the lack of actual factual linkage to any of the actual violence that takes place in America and markets around the world. So there's no doubt we, like you, were stunned and horrified by the violence in Connecticut or Colorado or other -- in many other places over the years. But there's been an enormous amount of research done in the entertainment field about looking for linkages between entertainment content and actual violence. And they haven't found any.

"I could give you long stories about how people in Denmark or U.K. or Ireland or Canada consume as much or more violent games and violent media as they do in the United States, and yet they have an infinitely smaller incidence of gun violence, but that's not really the point. The point is that direct studies that have been done, hundreds of millions of dollars of the research have been done, has been unable to find a linkage because there isn't one. And that went all the way up to the Supreme Court this past summer.

"A number of folks had summarized the available data, provided it to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court came out in favor of, basically stating that we deserve all the First Amendment right freedoms that are accorded to any media. And the key part of that, is I think, they were swayed by the evidence that was presented to them of all these studies.

"Now having said all of that, and with all, if you will, humility about the world we live in, we understand that while there may not be an actual problem, given all the finger-pointing going on in the press, there appears to be the perception of a problem, and we do have to wrestle with that. "

Riccitiello said regardless, EA intends to be "part of the solution" that can be used as a "voice for good" regarding the current political perception of violence being caused by video games.

"It's not about games," he said. "There's a perception issue. We can be part of that solution, and we're ready to step up to do that."

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