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Video Game Groups Ask U.S. VP Biden to Not Censor Games

posted on 2013-01-11 22:14 EST

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) and International Game Developers Association (IGDA) both urged United States Vice President Joe Biden not to censor video games due to recent school shootings. Biden is scheduled to meet with heads of the gaming industry this month to discuss the relationship between mass shootings and violence in video game and other media.

Chairman of IDGA's Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee Daniel Greenberg issued a statement to the Vice President, noting the U.S. Government's comic book censorship of the 1950s and its effects on the industry. Greenberg said that the censorship failed to reduce juvenile violence and "decimated" the production process.

"Censoring video games could have similar unintended consequences that we cannot currently foresee," Greenberg stated. "Ironically, comic books are now used as part of the solution to illiteracy, even by the government. It may seem counter-intuitive, but video games, even violent video games, could be part of the solution here, as well."

ECA vice president and general counsel Jennifer Mercurio stated similar sentiments in an open letter. "With the recent tragedy on everyone's minds, some people are looking for a cause and culprit other than the shooter," Mercurio said. "Unfortunately some are blaming media, including video games, for violent behavior in individuals. We know this isn't the case; banning or regulating media content even more won't solve the issue."

Mercurio also referenced a study by Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M International University: "While video game sales have increased, violent crime has been steadily decreasing according to FBI statistics. In 2011, video game sales increased to over $27 billion dollars and violent crimes nationwide decreased 3.8 percent from 2010. Since 2002, violent crime has decreased 15.5 percent. This is all during the time when games like Call of Duty and Halo have dominated sales."

United States mass shootings in the last year captured media attention, leading to questions about violent media's role in the crimes. James Holmes opened fire in a crowded movie theater screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado on July 20. Another shooting occurred in the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Oregon on December 11, followed by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, and the Taft High School shooting in California on Thursday.

A study by Common Sense Media found that 89% of United States parents believe that violence found in current video games is an issue.

West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill days after the Sandy Hook shooting to Congress that would task the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study the effects of violent video games and other media on children. The bill died at the close of the 112th Congressional session on January 3, but Rockfeller plans to resubmit the bill during the current session.

Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news tip.

Source: Gamespot (Link 2, Link 3, Link 4)


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