Obama calls for game violence research

[UPDATE] US President directs Centers for Disease Control to conduct further studies on relationship between virtual violence and real-world violence; the ESA responds.


President Barack Obama today ordered more research be done to investigate the relationship between video games and real-world violence. As part of a $500 million, 23-point plan, Obama directed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other research agencies to conduct further research into the matter in the wake of December's deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

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The Obama administration is calling on Congress to allocate $10 million for the CDC to conduct its research. Vice President Joe Biden met with gaming leaders--including Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello and Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher--last week to discuss gun violence.

Obama's plan to conduct more research into game violence is not the only such ongoing initiative. West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller's dead-but-not-defeated proposition would task the National Academy of Sciences to study the effects of violent video games and other programs on children. Rockefeller plans to re-introduce the bill to Congress this month.

"Most gun owners are responsible and law-abiding, and they use their guns safely," reads a statement from the White House. "The President strongly believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. But to better protect our children and our communities from tragic mass shootings like those in Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Tucson, there are four common-sense steps we can take right now."

In addition to tasking the CDC with conducting more research on video game violence, Obama's plan includes closing background check loopholes, banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, making schools safer, and increasing access to mental health services.

"While no law or set of laws will end gun violence, it is clear that the American people want action," the statement continues. "If even one child’s life can be saved, then we need to act. Now is the time to do the right thing for our children, our communities, and the country we love."

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, the Entertainment Software Association issued a statement on the news to Joystiq. It states that scientific research has proven entertainment does not cause real-world violent behavior and notes the organization will continue to work with Obama and Congress to find solutions.

"ESA appreciates President Obama's and Vice President Biden's leadership and the thoughtful, comprehensive process of the White House Gun Violence Commission. We concur with President Obama's call today for all Americans to do their part, and agree with the report's conclusion that 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 same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world.

"We will embrace a constructive role in the important national dialogue around gun violence in the United States, and continue to collaborate with the Administration and Congress as they examine the facts that inform meaningful solutions."

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Avatar image for idpokehim

Waste of money Obama--it's already been disproven that games cause real world violence. Let's spend our tax dollars on things we need, like say better education or care for people with mental instabilities?

Avatar image for Azraelnone

On topic of virtual violence translating to real-world violence (as opposed to my political comment below). The issue really is not that complicated.

Social impairment, antisocial behavior, mental conditions, whatever you want to call it. I think practically anyone can agree that these traits or some variation thereof have been displayed in a majority of the perpetrators of recent violent, gun-related crime.
Now look at video games. An escape from the world that these people feel has abandoned and shunned them? I'm sure the above-mentioned people LEAP at them!

This begs a question. Are video games the catalyst as so many claim? Or merely another... *drum roll*.... Symptom of a different problem!? :O *gasp*

Also, you have to look at the impressionability of the person playing a game. How many people in their right mind are going to play Gears of War and think, "That's awesome! I'm going to go chainsaw someone!"... That's the kind of thing that someone already NOT in their right mind would think. And I don't mean a little off. I mean should probably be getting plenty of professional health.

Which leads into my main opinion: Video games are an extremely easy scapegoat that politicians can use to get gullible people to jump on their bandwagons.

What politicians SHOULD be doing is supporting research into the abundance of mental issues/disabilities (for whatever reason, placebo or no) that seem to be so prevalent in our modern American society. But a politician using that for their rhetoric isn't nearly as provocative as violent video games(!), so of course, politicians will stick to what gets them attention and votes.....

Avatar image for kik4444

What I really don't understand is this: All the people who conduct these "investigations" are supposed to be intelligent, yet even the most brain-dead people can figure out that IF games caused violence, then Japan would be the most violent country in the world, cause that's where the first (and still most brutal) violent games originated from.

Avatar image for BLACK_HAWK116

This is a song I wrote making fun of people blaming violence on video games...enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5Nv9nYpGws

Avatar image for OldKye

@BLACK_HAWK116 Each and every one of those references should be made into a insanity wolf meme lol

"Played gears of war for the first time"

"Fired up Chainsaw and Curb Stomped my Cat!!!"

Avatar image for G1Ga-B1T3

He also calls on you to surrender your guns while his criminal cohorts hang on to theirs.

Avatar image for danusty

ok, violent video games are not to blame for the violent acts we've seen in this beautiful country of mine. dumb/unaware parents and store clerks are to blame for kids getting violent video games and here's my example:

I live in Connecticut and when the game Capcom Digital Collection came out I went to a gamestop. While I was looking for the game I hear this 8 to 10 year old black kid tell his mother while at the store's register: mom, ask if they have GTA4 and the mom was completely oblivious as to what a GTA4 was. the clerk kept quiet obviously trying to make another sale for after all the mom is buying. when I heard that little kid say those words in my mind I said (OH NO YOU DID INT!), I jumped in and said to the mom: GTA stands for grand theft auto, those games are some of the most violent video games out there and I provided info as to why it was so violent., when the mom heard my info she said: oh no, I will not buy you that!

was I trying to be responsible or a hero in this situation? HELL NO! I just wanted to steal the kid's happiness! buhuhuhuhuhahahahaaaaaaa! Mission Complete!
Avatar image for sdcazares1980

I know I'm going to catch hell for saying this, but I welcome it, just to shut the critics up once and for all.

But even after all is said and done, the haters, I mean critics, will never believe in the evidence that is presented to them. We've had the 9/11 "truthers", the Obama birthers, the creationists, the climate change deniers, etc.

So Mr. President, have your researchers look in to this, but believe me when I say that these critics are probably the same people who think you born in Kenya. You know how that felt.

Avatar image for jimbobb23

Most people are good law abiding citizens, but for THE CHILDREN....

That is the way you start to take stuff away. Can't Obama leave anyone alone?? How do violent video games affect a crazy crazy man? This guy was crazy. Not a good reason to make policy. Shame on Democrat Obama!

Avatar image for widdowson91

What Obama should do is make owning guns illegal in America. That would solve far more outreaching problems.

Avatar image for icekula

@widdowson91 "The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it" -Thomas Jefferson

Avatar image for thequickshooter

i knew it from the Beginning that obama is full of shit

i don't know if romney should have won, but obama is a terrible president

Avatar image for sdcazares1980

@thequickshooter Politicians are going to be politicians no matter what. Sometimes, you just have to raise your voice because voting might not be sufficient.

Avatar image for plasticreality

Anyone find it ironic that while Obama has spent record amounts on the military, used drone strikes in a number of countries, presided over two wars, and continues to torture people in Guanatemo Bay, he at the same time wants to investigate video game violence?

Avatar image for skaven2100

So he's restricting magazine sizes to 10 rounds. Because as everyone knows, if a maniac has to reload after he kills his 10th victim, well then everything's swell now isn't it?

As for videogame violence, get a grip. What's more likely to stop gun crime, banning violent games or, i dunno er. BANNING FUCKING GUNS??

Avatar image for Azraelnone

@skaven2100 This statement shows an abounding lack of knowledge regarding politics. Taking steps in ANY direction on ANY hot issue such as gun control is like taking steps through 3ft of thick mud.

Also, 10 rounds=10 dead victims? That's a damn impressive hit rate/fatality rate, even for highly trained professionals.

Also, look at countries that do ban guns. Criminals still get a hold of them. There is still violent crime. Not that certain controls on firearms aren't a step in the right direction, (I also don't think violent video games are to blame) But this isn't a one-solution problem. It's a little more complicated than that.

Take Switzerland as an example. Gun control is relatively low there, but so are violent crime rates. It goes to show that radically zealous opinions such as yours are not the end-all answers.

Avatar image for RE2LeonS

And now I instantly regret voting for him

Avatar image for Sinisevil

So you try to get rid of violent war games? Try taking away Chess as a first.

Avatar image for RavenCultist

I'm begining to find it harder and harder to like obama, but really do you think Mit would be any less of a clueless money grabbing shit. (Flashes back to the days when he though the lib dems had princibles.)

Avatar image for betelgeuse68

Stop p*ssing more money away Mr. Obama. Since I'm willing to bet most of you here haven't a clue about the debt Barack Obama has weighed this country down with. He's added $8 trillion of debt to the US.

Since I already know through experience no one has a clue about what $1 trillion is really means. I'll break it down for you, to pay back $1 trillion @ $1 million/day, it would take roughly 3000 years. So he's added 24,000 years of debt @ $1 million/day.

How's this for you, in 4 years he spent nearly as much as all the previous US presidents put together. Clearly people didn't understand any of this... since he was re-elected.

Avatar image for GYIYGABITE

Mr President. You need some research? Well, I play alot of rated-M games, and I don't feel violent at all. I've been playing rated M games since I was 15. Does this help you?

I can't understand it. It's been said that you cannot link violent people with violent video games. There's more to it than that! You have to look at a person's background to begin with. I just think this research he's conducting is a waste of good money that can be used for something that can help PREVENT future attacks like the one in Connecticut.

Avatar image for kokonut1971

Barrack, Barrack, ( shakes my head ) If people are not able to sell their violent game then you will be losing valuable tax money from the gaming industry. Thus you wont be able to send people to Mars and have your dog get pedicured every 2 weeks and such...

Let it go....softly

Avatar image for sykopat99

"Obama's plan includes closing background check loopholes"

"and increasing access to mental health services."

These are both good ideas everyone can agree on as they don't take away anyone's rights.

"The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behavior in the real world."

This is also very true, there is something unique to the US, the cause have to be found and dealt with.

Avatar image for Smokey2003


Could be a sense of entitlement and a penchant for neglect.

Avatar image for jimbobb23

@sykopat99 The US does not lead in gun violence, and more importantly is not even close for overall violence.

Avatar image for mspahr

Maybe we should actually try punishing the criminals that commit crimes rather than blaiming everything on guns, music, TV, video games, and our boo hoo hoo childhoods?

Avatar image for XenogearsMaster

@mspahr You can punish the bad guys all you want but you still have 20 children dead.

Avatar image for racerxgundam

@XenogearsMaster @mspahr But the point is a gun killed those 20 kids and not a copy of freaking super mario world 2

Avatar image for Superbocky

@Smokey2003 @racerxgundam @XenogearsMaster @mspahr

i know there is a lot of solution to prevent this kind of situation (better mental health care, less violent media etc) but banning gun would also help

Avatar image for Smokey2003

@racerxgundam @XenogearsMaster @mspahr

A person killed those kids. The gun maybe saved him the trouble of working out a home made bomb. A person who can do this kind of thing isn't going to stop because he can't get a gun.

The issue is deeper than blaming any object. We might start by analyzing how selfish, entitled, neglectful and willfully ignorant we have become as a society, and how it's changed our kids...but nah...that'd be blaming ourselves, and it can't be us.

Avatar image for RavenCultist

@racerxgundam @XenogearsMaster @mspahr I think really untill the general acceptance of guns in America cotinues this stuff will happen no matter the culture or the mental helth system. Thiwe will always be one crazy that slips by.

Avatar image for Timmy_Gwar


Avatar image for csward

This smells like pork.

Avatar image for arcangelgold

All I have to say to Obama on this subject is this : Number one the Constitution doesn't give the federal government the right to use our tax dollars for this and number two shove it where the sun don't shine!

Avatar image for johnmatrix117

@arcangelgold What fine legal scholarship. Quick, write your Congressperson before anyone does anything unconstitutional!

Avatar image for Meta_Dragon

"Rockefeller plans to re-introduce the bill to Congress this month." Is everyone in the Rockefeller family as stupid and stubborn as you?

Avatar image for JmaN123654

What is there to study? We are spending 10 million dollars of my and everyone else's tax money on researching something that everyone already knows the answer to?? Games have violence in them, movies have violence in them, so are we going to ban movies and video games? Hell no, were going to try and ruin the gaming industry because all of the older ones in this country would raise hell over movies.

Avatar image for johnmatrix117

@JmaN123654 The research into videogame violence is included to placate NRA lapdogs who insist on taking a "comprehensive" look at what could possibly cause so many Americans to shoot each other.

Avatar image for jimbobb23

@johnmatrix117 @JmaN123654 This does not make sense? This isn't to placate the NRA, this is to placate Obama's rich doners since he knows he cannot do anything about guns since Americans are pretty settled in favor of current structure.

Avatar image for johnnyauau

If there's a history on America with their love of guns compare to Australia, I like to read it soon. I'm relaxing so if there's a link, let me know. Thanks.

Avatar image for djpetitte

i was just thinking about game violence the other day.. and how my favorite thing to do in Bf is run around and knife people for their dog tags. my friends and i will even get on opposite teams meet up somewhere and have knife battles. its hilarious The first time i showed up to the fight was in a tank and I blew my friend into the sky lol

Avatar image for AceCometh

Just another way this empty suit is wasting taxpayer dollars. This type of study has already been done.

Avatar image for TC_Squared

Here's something that the government has been too ignorant to consider...and even gamers for not mentioning it. Japan is the video game capital of the world. It is for the most part where it began, and where it still evolves. It is where titles like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, and Castlevania (which was originally far more brutal and scary) were born. There were even many titles in the '90s that didn't make it into the U.S. 'cause they were considered too mature. The game that has been rated the scariest of all time was Silent Hill. Anyway, my point is this: How many school shootings have there been in Japan? Because if it is the video games causing it, it would most certainly be happening there too.

Avatar image for JmaN123654

@TC_Squared The dumb asses in America, and all the old people in this country don't use logic when it comes to video games. They turn to whatever is easiest to attack, which is games.

There's nothing to study. Games are violent, movies are violent, music is violent, everything in this world has SOME TYPE of violence in it.

Avatar image for TC_Squared

This could be a good thing. Psychologists say that there is no apparent connection. If it is researched by psychologists and not bureaucrats, law proposals will go no where.

Avatar image for jimbobb23

@TC_Squared I think its cute that you think laws have anything to do with science.

Avatar image for JustPlainLucas

@TC_Squared The only problem is, how many more tax payer dollars need to be spent to prove something that has already been proven time and time again. These "studies" will keep happening provided that our sensationalist news media keeps public shootings on our TVs and in our newspapers 24/7.

Avatar image for Ertrick36

@TC_Squared That's because psychologists actually know how a person works. Bureaucrats only know how to get the most money out of crap like this...

Avatar image for Ghost-Eye

It's simple, get video game stores to refuse selling the game to the parents who are in the shop with their child.... I was in my local video game store few months ago and a mother was pre-ordering GTA5 for her (Underaged) Son and the member of staff was talking to the child about what deals he would get from pre-ordering it. The staff member should have refused to serve the mother who was obviously buying it for the minor. If you can get criminally charged for buying alcohol and cigarettes to minors why not do it for video games or atleast explain to the parent it may contain violence and things not suitable for anyone under the games rating. History is proof that video games doesn't make people violent.

Avatar image for cmacinnis

How about testing for where these kids keep getting the guns... I mean it must have been acting that made John Wilks Booth shoot Lincoln right?