Consumer group launches campaign against game research bill
Entertainment Consumers Association says Senator Rockefeller's Violent Content Research Act is a "distraction to finding the real cause" of mass shootings.
Gamer advocacy group the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has launched a campaign against a bill that would instruct the National Academy of Sciences to study the relationship between "exposure" to violent games and "harmful effects on children."
The Violent Content Research Act was introduced in its present form in January by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) following the schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn. where 20 children and six adults were killed by a reportedly "deranged gamer."
The bill has garnered bipartisan support, and earlier this week, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation recommended the bill be sent to the floor of the Senate to be voted on.
The ECA said it has "numerous concerns" about the Violent Content Research Act and believes it is a "distraction to finding the real cause of these events."
"With all due respect Senator, the highest court of the land has reviewed the scientific research and concluded that video games do not cause violence," the ECA said in a statement. "The non-scientific personal opinion of the Senator should not get to overturn the Supreme Court ruling."
In a landmark 2011 decision, the Supreme Court sided with the video game industry, ruling that games are protected free speech under the first amendment.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents the gaming industry's interests in Washington, issued a statement on the matter to GamePolitics.
"ESA has always supported objective scientific research and appreciates the opportunity for an ongoing dialogue with Chairman Rockefeller and members of the Committee," the group said. "Video games are enjoyed by the majority of American families--parents and children alike."
"Our industry has forged a longstanding partnership with parents by providing them the best information and tools available in order to make informed decisions about what games their children play," the statement goes on. "Indeed, the Federal Trade Commission this year again recognized the ESRB rating system as the best in the entertainment sector. We are building on this leadership with a renewed ratings and parental control awareness and usage campaign, and by continuing to expand the ESRB system to apps and mobile platforms."
In January, president Barack Obama ordered more research to be done to investigate the relationship between video games and real-world violence.