Riccitiello: We were 'horrified' by Newtown, studies don't link video games to gun violence

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Riccitiello: We were 'horrified' by Newtown, studies don't link video games to gun violence
EA CEO John Riccitiello said EA didn't see any impact on sales of shooters following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, nor during the following political maelstrom. Riccitiello said he has a unique vantage point on the issue of gun violence and the media, since he chairs the ESRB and ESA alongside his day job.

During a financial call, Riccitiello fielded a question about the potential impact of real-life gun violence on shooter sales and EA's internal approach to violent games.

"I was hoping we weren't going to do this question," he began.

"I want to underline the first point: The game industry is a very mature, responsible industry, more so than you might otherwise imagine. First off, we're very confident in the quality of our content, and the lack of an actual, factual linkage to any of the actual violence that takes place in America or markets around the world.

"There's no doubt that we, like you, were stunned and horrified by the violence in Conneticut or Colorado or many other places over the years, but there's been an enormous amount of research done in the entertainment field about looking for linkages between entertainment content and actual violence, and they haven't found any. I could give you long stories about how people in Denmark, or the UK, or Ireland or Canada consume as much or more violent games and violent media as they do in the United States, and yet they have an infinitely smaller incidence of gun violence, but that's not really the point. The point is that direct studies that have been done, hundreds of millions of dollars of research that has been done has been unable to find a linkage because there isn't one."

On January 16, President Obama proposed a $500 million plan with the goal of curtailing gun violence and researching its causes. He specified $10 million for the Centers for Disease Control and other scientific agencies to research the causes of gun violence, including those potentially related to video games.

Riccitiello said the video game industry needs to change the public perception of gaming, rather than remaining "the butt of the joke."

"So, quick summary: We're horrified like you," he said. "It's not about games; there's a perception issue. We can be part of that solution, and we're ready to step up to do that.
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