Industry sounds off on violent games debate

Developers from Gearbox, Epic Games, and Blizzard challenge assertion that games cause violence; "It's like finding your dad's Playboys under the bed and blaming Playboy."

Violence in games does not cause violence in the real world. That's the message developers from Gearbox, Epic Games, and Blizzard have provided in a clip from the upcoming film Video Games: The Movie released this week.

"There's always a lot of media talking about violence in video games. And certainly there are violent video games. But that's not how you describe the medium of gaming," Blizzard Entertainment chief creative officer Rob Pardo said. "The interesting thing, I think, with games, is that we actually have an even better ratings system than movies but there's still kind of this general misunderstand with the older generation that all games are like Grand Theft Auto. It would be like saying, 'We don't want anyone to go watch movies because all movies are violent.' But people don't say that because everyone really understands movies as a medium."

Gearbox Software creative designer Mikey Neumann said parents should be accountable for the media their children consume instead of blaming the gaming industry.

"It's weird how when you watch the people and they go to Congress and they're angry: 'Our kids are being corrupted.' I'm like 'Yeah, exactly. Your kids,' Neumann said. "They're your children; you should be not corrupting them. 'I leave them alone ten hours a day, he's getting corrupted by this.' Well no sh**. It's like finding your dad's Playboys under the bed and then blaming Playboy."

Former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski is also quoted in the video. He said the causal link the media draws between games and violence is a fallacy.

"Last time I checked, Cain didn't bludgeon Abel with a Game Boy; Genghis Khan didn't have an Xbox Live account; and Hitler didn't play Crash Bandicoot." -- Tommy Tallarico

"People like to make just kind of a causal link and say well video games cause violence. It's like, let's see, so, there's more crime in the summer and more ice cream is sold in the summer, therefore ice cream causes crime. That's not how legitimate scientific research works," he said.

Game composer Tommy Tallarico, cousin of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, acknowledged that violence is a fundamental element of the human condition, but said this is not a reason to blame violent games for violent behavior.

"Violence unfortunately is a part of human nature. And last time I checked, Cain didn't bludgeon Abel with a Game Boy; Genghis Khan didn't have an Xbox Live account; and Hitler didn't play Crash Bandicoot," Tallarico said. "I don't believe that video games are murder simulators; if anything, what the statistics prove is that it's exactly the opposite."

Lastly, Epic Games art director Wyeth Johnson said he believes the violent game debate will subside in time, due in part to the game business being young, relative to other forms of entertainment.

"You realize that it's about imagination and invention and connection to a world and it doesn't have these big trappings that people apply to them," Johnson said. "So I think it's a problem that's just going to naturally evolve away and we just have to defend the industry until that evolution happens."

Games have been a much-discussed topic by mass media since the December schoolhouse shooting in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead. The shooter was reportedly a "deranged gamer."

Written By

Discussion

495 comments
quakke
quakke

May 29. lol, that is like the first time i've seen Gearbox name in news since the lawsuit. Are Gaybox still around? Apparenlty.

TBoneTony
TBoneTony

Here is my advice for people who don't like violent videogames.

JUST MAKE YOUR OWN GAME AND HAVE YOUR KIDS PLAY IT.

And once when the kid plays your game and says that it sucks because it does not have guns or big explosions that they are interested in...at least you have a feeling of what it is like to be a game developer.

RighteousWoman
RighteousWoman

Yawn, these arguments always get brought up and then wind up getting slapped down. Its nonsense.

Verityrant
Verityrant

Video games don't cause violence, Game of Thrones does...and Shakespeare.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Its like finding your dad's playboys under the bed then getting the idea to beat off to them... ok wait bad example

KZombie
KZombie

I've said it before and say it again. 


If a person can't differ between a fantasy and reality, it's called mental illness.

magusat999
magusat999

The most violent people I have encountered do not have any interest in playing video games - except for sport games. Ask any crip, blood, latin king, black guerilla mafia, etc. - any gangster what, if any video game they play and they will tell you either they don't play no stupid ass games or they will name some sport game. So either sports violence makes people violent or there's no link between gaming and violence.

The human mind is much more complicated than to make such a sweeping statement - bubble gum psychology. Why don't they specifically research what made those nuts do what they do instead of picking out one activity and blaming it on that. If someone has a chemical imbalance and they play games - isn't it reasonable to assume that it was the chemical imbalance rather than blaming it on their recreational activity?

FreeRPGer
FreeRPGer

I'm 46 going on 23 (: ... and I'll say, since I am a traveling musician, that this and suicide were blamed on music in the past too. Then came music ratings. Now I see it with games. But, games already have ratings. So what's wrong? Point the finger in the right direction, I say.

Personally, I am no more violent than Pee Wee Herman. I prefer JRPGs, which has fantasy violence, so, is that the same, when you save the world with fantasy violence? Actually, can violence be defined? Is Mario bouncing on heads violent? Seems subjective to me.

Yeah, there are violent games out there. There are violent musical bands out there. There are also violent movies out there. So, should ALL entertainment be held accountable? I think not. 

If money is being spent on researching video game violence, put the money somewhere else, like teaching parents how to raise children, and other such things. Or, some parents should stop having kids when their only 15 years old themselves. Kids having kids can't teach right from wrong. End of rant.

SkytheWiz1
SkytheWiz1

I turned 23 two days ago. I've played video games since I was three, picking out which chest for my aunt to open in Zelda: A Link to the Past. Since I turned 13, I have almost exclusively played M-rated video games.

I would not consider myself a violent person, nor do video games push me in that direction.

Why? Because my parents have played an active role in my upbringing. The Sandy Hook shooting they reference at the end, the boy was picked on at school and family members have reported that the mother hardly helped the situation.

Don't blame violence on entertainment; violence was here first. Blame it on bad families who don't teach their children right from wrong.

BloodlustSweden
BloodlustSweden

I have read a bit of the comment now and my only response at the "Video-games makes you into a psychopath that will go Breivik on your ass"-people is: "..." 

....i don't like calling people stupid...but thats the only thing that comes to mind when reading some of the "Anti Violent Games"-"arguments"...because i can't even begin to understand how anyone can have such a (imo) skewed opinion... Maybe it can be backtracked to how your parents raised you or if you follow a religion/cult/movement...idk..

epicalex95
epicalex95

I am thirteen, I do play some M rated games that include COD(not much though, I don't find it that fun), Metal gear solid, Bioshock Infinite, Halo(being my favorite), and more. Even though I'm thirteen, I do not feel I desensitize myself in any way. There was once an exhibition where there were some people from the military with real guns you could hold(no ammo obviously), but I would need a lot of help to be shown how they work. Anyways, I find it just sick when someone just goes in and kills a ton of people, causing me to believe video games are hardly a factor of these horrible school shootings and other murders. Death is a sad thing, and games make me think the opposite of action movies, they seem to sometimes make think of the people I killed in a game. What was their life like? Who was there family? I know that many gamers are quite creative and want to be successful, not murderers. Games have even made me want to be something creative too. I want to be a game designer. Gamers are far from heartless. Trust me people from other generations that look for something new to blame.

GymFox
GymFox

Your query is totally ambiguous as a response... What do you mean?  

awake2reality
awake2reality

Game developers are funny. They want their work to be art, to be impactful, to be part of culture, to mean something... they stand up and say, games are good, they can teach you something.

And I agree with all of this, but I also realize that the power of games can also prepare, train and desensitize a kid and can present a solution to a problem as just "kill everyone". Games can definitely be part of the problem, and you can't look at the Newtown shooting and hide your eyes from that fact.

And there is a huge disconnect between what the public thinks of games and the reality. This is proven by the fact that everyone would not be okay if a toy store sold R rated movies, but M rated games? Hey they are just "games"

What can be done? I don't know the answer. But I do know that until the industry stops shoving NRA like propaganda into society and starts taking a seriously look at their part in this, M rated games will still be sold in Toys R Us as no big deal and more kids will go on finding their answers and getting trained and prepared for more shootings.

botswanky
botswanky

Violent video games, movies etc don't cause (mentally sound) people to become violent psychopaths. But they do cause desensitization to real world violence, and it's effects on humanity.

The worst affected are the young with their impressionable minds, to deny this negative aspect of the proliferation of violence in the entertainment industry, is senseless and irresponsible.

The entertainment industry is making an absolute killing, by slowly, but surely destroying the little good that's still left in mankind, one kid at a time.      

awake2reality
awake2reality

Why is it that Toys R Us does not sell R rated movies, but sells M rated games?

Hurvl
Hurvl

"Gearbox Software creative designer Mikey Neumann said parents should be accountable for the media their children consume instead of blaming the gaming industry." If only more people, especially parents, understood this. Politicians and others with power would do good to understand this as well. Hunters don't shoot people even though they have a gun and a license to kill...animals. Games offer lots of different experiences just like movies. Similarly, violent action movies (Fast and the Furious among others) make a lot of money just like violent action games (CoD, Battlefield etc.), so where's the difference? Why don't people who watch Fast and the Furious crash their cars?

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

It's kinda hard to take seriously any opinions on violence from a man who created the chainsaw-bayonet. Even if, for once, Cliff B. actually has something of interest to say that isn't pants on head retarded and rampantly egotistical!

Also, that must have been what, nearly two months without a Cliffy B quote? At least the whole article isn't about him again, but still, how about 3 months next time Eddie? Or how about nothing until he gets a job and becomes relevant again.

tazdevil33
tazdevil33

@syam32245340 I am sure he would have liked that game :). Especially the sequel

tazdevil33
tazdevil33

@Verityrant And Harry potter , waving sticks around and encouraging kids to do this . You could poke an eye out.

tazdevil33
tazdevil33

@KZombie I thought it was called the government at least going by the way they run countries

singaporesam
singaporesam

@magusat999 They have done research and they have found no correlation between violence and video games, but apparently thats not good enough.

TM-Mordred
TM-Mordred

@epicalex95 damn son. i wish i could've been able to talk as well as you can when i was thirteen.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@awake2reality You awake to reality guy.  Games are toys yes, but not all toys are for children.  I'm 35 years old, and I love me some video games.  So much I never even watch TV.  The games are not there for anyone to pick up, you get a clerk and they unlock them for you.  That's all the INDUSTRY needs to do to keep these games out of kids hands, and that shouldn't even be necessary.  The rest is up to the parents.

kozakon
kozakon

@awake2reality 

the incident  in Newtown would have happened with or without a video game.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@botswanky Disagree.  24 years I've played games, mostly violent ones like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Quake, All the GTA and CoD games, etc.  Now a parent of 3 kids and while I do monitor and keep games like this, the very kind of games I grew up with, away from my children.  It feels more like something I do to appease the new generation of hypersensitive politically correct crusaders.

Impressionable minds are influenced by the parents far more than any comic book, movie or game.  It's my mother's persistent lecturing about morals and the difference between right and wrong that made me who I am, not how many opponents in the arcade I systematically dismembered on a fighting game.  If the child had no parents or loved ones at all and only sat around playing violent video games, there's STILL a whole lot more wrong than the video games shaping this child's future.  That is what the real problem would be.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@awake2reality Because Toys R Us and the people that work there want you to buy those games for the youngest kid and indoctrinate them into Illuminati:  NRA division with its goal of turning the children into soylent green.

You need a tin foil hat bro.  If you think Jeff down at Toys R Us wants anything in the store to be used in a violent manner, you have lost touch with reality and should stop playing video games immediately.

awake2reality
awake2reality

@Hurvl The whole blame the parents argument is stupid. You think parents have any power when a huge industry decides to target their kids. Good luck with that. And sorry, games are not the same thing as movies. You play games? You really think a movie compares at all to being in a skirmish in MOH or driving a car in Grand Tourismo??? Games laugh at movies.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@DarkSaber2k Yes how dare someone with an industry insiders view and a legitimate opinion be allowed to express his free speech. He is obviously a hypocrite, no one can make a game with a chainsawonet and also have an opinion.

awake2reality
awake2reality

@kozakon @awake2reality Sorry, I don't buy that. If you can't see how many pieces come together - mental illness, guns and yes games, you are blind. Are games the sole reason, of course not. Is the sim part of these games providing an answer to their problems, and preparing them, showing them how... of course. There are many pieces to the puzzle these kids are, and you are foolish to not recognize the game piece. Just as foolish as the NRA pretending that their marketing of machine guns to the general public has nothing to do with it.

awake2reality
awake2reality

@Tuckpoint @botswanky "Impressionable minds are influenced by the parents far more than any comic book, movie or game." Wow, you have a 1950s TV show mentality.

awake2reality
awake2reality

@Tuckpoint @awake2reality You need to take off your rose colored glasses and wake up to the money involved in all this. The industry loves they can put a letter on a game, and parents don't realize it is equal to an R movie.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@awake2reality @Hurvl Are you daft? Go vote for Obama. Do your job as a parent and PARENT your children, it's your fault. They are always going to be targeted and marketed to, it's nothing special, we live in a consumer society. Even if you forbid them from tv or internet or radio, they are still going to find out about things they want that will corrupt them.

atomic_jon
atomic_jon

@awake2reality I'm sorry, but the whole premise of your statement is ridiculous. Parents are responsible for the content in which their children are exposed to, not the industry itself, it is a parents responsibility to protect their children from the subject matter they may find inappropriate for THEIR kid. To even suggest that a parent can't control what they buy their kids is ludicrous. All forms of media display violence, but you refuse to attack, or condemn them. You target only video games, why? There isn't a causal link that playing video games makes one violent. Studies have shown that. But do you want to know what has  been PROVEN to cause violence?... The bible, yet you're not acknowledging that because that isn't convenient for your purpose. Calling something stupid and not offering a reason as to why doesn't make a point, it just makes you ignorant.

kozakon
kozakon

@awake2reality @Hurvl  

Than whats the whole point of being a parent? if you cant even tell your kids what they can or cant do until they turn 16-18, then your not a very good parent. when i was little and I wanted something that wasn't good for my age, my parents simple said no. no matter how much i cry and nagged. and i have seen many parents do the same thing with their kids and that is good parenting. doesn't matter how big the industry is, it's all up to the parents.

thorn3000
thorn3000

@kozakon exactly, what people outside US usually fail to see is that the rest of the world has access to exactly the same games and a great deal of kids outside US also play these violent games....yet, simply no such incidents take place or at least not on a such scale...why?what is the difference? could it be because of the only real difference - that guns don't get sold in these countries?!? I would say yes....people in the US who debate against videogames, but don't touch the guns debate most likely have never lived outside US and did not see that games are not the influencing factor here, the gun sale however is...

kozakon
kozakon

@awake2reality@Tuckpoint 

Look, i agree with you about the NRA, in 2010 over 19000 people committed  suicide using their own guns. but i don't look at games the same way.

I'm not from the USA so i can tell you we have all the games you can find in the USA and yet their was never a single incident of the same scale as Newtown. Because in my country it is illegal to sell guns to the general public. To tell you the truth, i think it's crazy when you can go and buy gun at a supermarket or some random store.

You say i don't put the pieces together but you are wrong. I trained with an M-16 rifle and served with it for a few years and i can tell you from experience, no home video game can teach you how to use a rifle unless your holding a real weapon. The video game did not trained that kid, his mom trained him. The game may have provided a little stimulation but nothing more then that. Even without the game it would have happened because she took him to the gun range which is a lot more realistic then a video game. She regulated him to guns and to him it looked like just a daily game you play outside.

awake2reality
awake2reality

@Tuckpoint @awake2reality NRA does not market machine guns? Too funny. What do you think assault rifles are? Why do you think they make sure the real ones are in games? Automatic or manual makes no difference, be it your finger or a mechanism, it is still a machine gun. You should stop being a pawn for the gun lobby, or maybe just stop accepting their "facts" as fact. And the fact is, the NRA makes lots of money from selling machine guns as toys.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@awake2reality Your arguments will hold a lot more water if you just stick to the facts and not exaggerate.  NRA does not market machine guns.  I trained and hunted with bird dogs as a youngster (12+).  Your shotgun could and afaik, still, only hold 3 shells.  While it was possible to remove parts and hold up to 8 shells, that was now an illegal gun with heavy penalties.

The only machine gun that the public has access to is the hilarious rotating barrel mini gun, there's like 15 still in existence that are OKAY for anyone to buy.  It's also insanely expensive and only up for sale when one of the current owners sells theirs.  Hunting rifles AND rifles used for self protection are not fully automatic and modifying them to be as such is illegal.  

I own no personal weapons other than my sword shaped letter opener and do not support the NRA or the latest hilarious background check bill their lobbyists shot down, but putting words into peoples mouths for the sake of furthering your own hyperbolic argument is lacking credibility.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@awake2reality @Tuckpoint @botswanky No, as a housewife, I have almost unlimited time to spend with my kids when they're not attending school.  If only people were able to make a decent wage so that a one income family was a viable option for people with careers.  But yes, sorta Brady Bunch in that my daughter plays her clarinet at the local nursing home for the old folks there at an age she should be making fun of their wrinkles and smell.  I have an entire community surrounding me to provide me with examples, even bad examples.  All you have here is a handful of belittling statements and half assed media propaganda rehashed and  posted here on the comments section .

awake2reality
awake2reality

@Grenadeh @awake2reality @Hurvl Okay, can't wait to sell your kids cigarettes and tell them they are good for them. Smoke up kids! And too funny, you blame the parents, and then say there is nothing the parents can do because they are going to find out about things.  You really don't realize you are proving your own argument wrong.

atomic_jon
atomic_jon

@awake2realityThat might be a valid argument if it didn't state right above the M " Mature 17+" Which, if you have a basic reading comprehension, implies what ages the game is appropriate for... In fact gamestop requires their employees to card for M games, and if they are caught selling to a minor they're fired.  If a store sells a minor cigarettes or alcohol, who do you go after? The companies that make the product, or the store who sold the product...? 

awake2reality
awake2reality

@atomic_jon @awake2reality I'll put it to you this way. Why is it that Toys R Us does not sell R rated movies, but sells M rated games? Because the industry does a great job making sure parents don't equate M with R. Selling M games to kids is a huge profit center. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

@kozakon @awake2reality Also, teaching kids what is real and what isn't real and the consequences of one's actions is one of the most important lessons a child needs to get from their parents. If they don't understand that lesson, the parents have failed. I can kill as many people as I want in games, but when I turn off the game, no dead bodies lie around and I don't need to fear going to prison.