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WASHINGTON–Representatives of the leading American video game producers and chain sales companies met Friday at the White House with Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney. Gen. Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss the portrayal of gun violence in their industry.
The gaming representatives, who all said they welcomed a chance to participate in the wide-ranging discussions Biden is conducting before he sends a set of recommendation to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, included a virtual who’s who of the industry, including: Michael Gallagher, President & CEO, Entertainment Software Association and representatives of Activision Blizzard, Inc.; Electronic Arts; E-Line Media; Entertainment Software Association; Entertainment Software Ratings Board; Epic Games; GameStop; Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop; Take-Two Interactive; and Zenimax Media.
The video game industry’s status as a genre protected by the First Amendment was affirmed in 2011, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that sought to curb the sale of violent games to minors. Thus, Biden’s approach to the executives was similar to the one he took with film and television executives Thursday with a focus on voluntary steps.
“We know that there is no silver bullet,” Biden said following the meetings. Many critics of video industry have pointed to the fact that most of the best-selling games involve gun violence inflicted by many of the same military-style weapons that were used in the Sandy Hook and Aurora killings. The vice president said he was weighing the question of whether or not the games’ violence contributed to a “coarsening of our culture? I do not know the answer to that question,” he admitted. “This is a complex problem.”
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