Trump meeting with game execs yields "significant progress" - Legislator

Missouri Representative Vicky Hartzler gives her assessment as ESA thanks president for "receptive and comprehensive approach"

A number of representatives of the game industry met with US president Donald Trump today to discuss the issue of school safety in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead. While it's unclear what exactly went on during the meeting, one attendee has released the first public statement out of the event.

Missouri Representative Vicky Hartzler posted a statement to her Twitter account, saying she appreciated the president's efforts to address the American trend of mass shootings.

"I believe the solution to curtailing violence lies in an all-encompassing approach, focused on several different factors that may contribute to school shootings," Hartzler said. "Discussions should not be limited to just video games and guns. The President's approach of leaving no stone unturned is prudent and similar meetings with the movie industry pertaining to gun violence on film should also be conducted."

As for how the meeting with game execs went, Hartzler said, "Today's meeting was an opportunity to learn and hear from different sides about concerns and possible solutions to violence in schools. I believe significant progress was made today, and my hope is that we can build on this progress in the future."

Games industry attendees reportedly included heads of the Entertainment Software Association, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, Take-Two Interactive, and Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media (whose board of directors includes the president's brother, Robert S. Trump). Other attendees included Republican members of Congress (Hartzler, Senator Marco Rubio, and Representative Martha Roby) and vocal critics of the games industry Media Research Center founder L. Brent Bozell, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (author of Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing), and Parents Television Council program director Melissa Henson.

Update: The Entertainment Software Association has released its own statement about the event, saying, "We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House. We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry's rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices. We appreciate the President's receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion."

As for what might reflect Trump's perspective on the matter, the verified White House YouTube account posted the following (unlisted) video.

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Latest comments (3)

Steve Peterson Marketing Consultant A year ago
Hey, look at this shiny meeting, let's not talk about the devices that actually are used to kill people. Translation of the ESA's statement from the corporatespeak: "Don't worry, we made our talking points for the cameras and we're pretty sure Trump will have forgotten all about this in an hour, so we're good."

Nothing will change as a result of this, yet the game industry had to show up to provide counter-arguments.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft GermanyA year ago
@Steve: Of course. We are now being the scapegoat for NRA influenced (and paid) administrations like movies and Rock music were in the 80's again, nothing will change.
At least, to point something positive in this farse, at least now we are protected by the 1st Amendment, and unlike "them", we won't be using it as an argument to deny responsibilities for real violence and real deaths.
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup StudiosA year ago
Sounds like the ESA did us proud. And as Rami pointed out on twitter, the White House has posted this montage stripped of the industry-standard content warnings. Instantly non-representative.
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