It’s time once again for America’s true favorite pastime. After two shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, resulted in 30 deaths and over 50 injuries, United States lawmakers, including President Donald Trump, are blaming video game violence for the shootings. These accusations have resulted in various big-name video game companies reporting major losses in the stock market.
How many times have we gone through this, now?
In the wake of a tragedy, like the El Paso and Dayton shootings, we often find ourselves wondering why these happened. According to US lawmakers, it’s video game violence, once again. Over the weekend, US lawmakers like House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have blamed video game violence as the cause of the shootings. Despite evidence that, in the case of the El Paso shooting, the crime was racially motivated. During a national address today, President Donald Trump called for a change to the nation’s culture. More specifically, he singled out the influence of video game violence on younger players.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly videogames that are now commonplace,” Trump said. “It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately. Cultural change is hard, but each of us can choose to build a culture that celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every human life. That’s what we have to do.”
President Trump also addressed the manifesto written by the El Paso shooter, describing it as “consumed by racist hate” and urged Americans to condemn racism, stating that “hate has no place” in the country.
This isn’t the first time Trump has gotten involved with video game violence. After the Parkland shooting, Trump met with representatives of the video game industry.
A rebuttal and ripples
In response to the President’s remarks, IGDA executive director Reene Gittins and IGDAF executive director Nika Nour released a joint response to his accusations:
Our deepest condolences and hearts go out to the victims and families affected by the tragic events in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. Society has endured too many senseless acts of violence and horrific mass shootings. Blaming video games distracts from the broader issues at hand. There is an overwhelming amount of research that finds there is no evidence linking video games to violence. Video games do not cause violence, and we support efforts to discontinue this misguided information
On the financial side of things, Trump’s remarks have resulted in several big video game companies reporting notable drops in their share prices. Shares of Activision Blizzard are down 6.1% in today’s session while Take-Two Interactive reported a drop of 6.3%. Take-Two will post their quarterly earnings after the closing bell today, while Activision Blizzard’s numbers are due Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, Electronic Arts, Inc. reported a 4.6% drop and Zynga dropped 3.9%.
Researchers have yet to find a concrete connection between video game violence and violent crime. In fact, two prominent studies that suggested a connection between video games and violence have been retracted.