EA chief: Game industry 'unfairly demonized'

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CAMBRIDGE, England -- The film and television industries make "far more violent" output than the "unfairly demonized" video games industry, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello told British executives here Friday, rejecting the accusation that the games industry is promoting violence in "a moral vacuum."

Speaking at the Royal Television Society conference, Riccitiello said that such shows as "24" and "CSI" and movies including "Kill Bill-Vol. 2" and "300" were as violent, if not more so, than even the most controversial video games such as "Manhunt" and "Grand Theft Auto."

"Compared with programs like '24' or 'The Shield,' or any movie from Quentin Tarantino, games are not any more violent," Riccitiello said.

Citing the example of British and U.S. regulators' decision to ban the video game "Manhunt 2" this year because it encourages players to commit a series of murders, the EA boss said the existing system of regulation was sufficient.

"There is also a rating system that works," he added. "The publishers went back and re-edited it."

Riccitiello rejected a challenge by ITV executive chairman Michael Grade, who said that the violence in games lacked the moral context and consequences of narrative drama on television and the big screen.

"Those acts of violence (shown in games) exist in a moral vacuum, whereas in films and television, it is set in a moral context, with real consequences, such as pain," Grade said.

But his comments were dismissed by the EA boss.

"Any number of films show violence in a moral vacuum, and they are scenes we have become comfortable with," Riccitiello said. "As storytelling in games increases, there will be more moral context. When you are playing games, there is a clear line in the sand between good and evil."
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