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Game publishers treading carefully at E3 in wake of Orlando tragedy

"Steps are being taken by individual publishers to be sensitive to the national mood at the moment," says ESA boss Mike Gallagher

Following the unspeakable horrors that occurred at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida over the weekend prior to E3, it's understandable if some people aren't in the mood to see violence and gun-filled shooters taking centerstage at various press conferences held by the major publishers this week. As it turns out, some of the publishers are aware of how they must walk a fine line to entertain but not be disrespectful, ESA head Mike Gallagher told Ars Technica.

"I think we're all in the process of understanding and internalizing what happened last night, and that's an individual experience and a company experience," he said. "I do know that steps are being taken by individual publishers to be sensitive to the national mood at the moment and those types of things."

Details on exactly how the companies have altered their plans are hazy, however. Gallagher pointed out that publishers have "limited some of the tag lines or Twitter handles that might seem to be non-responsive to the national mood."

He added, "I think those are good steps that they've taken, and we commend them for it, but each company is approaching it in their own way."

While Bethesda's conference presenters last night wore rainbow pride pins to honor the Orlando victims, it's unclear how else Bethesda or Electronic Arts before it altered their presentations. Games with plenty of gun action like Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 were obviously still in the spotlight, but Gallagher said that game companies shouldn't feel like they have to change the content of the games themselves.

"It's more in how the products are projected from here... not changing anything about the games... "When it comes to the larger issue of violence in our country and gun violence in video games, I think we're in a much better place today with people's universal understanding that this industry does not cause any of the violence that you see in our society," Gallagher said. "You have a realization that this is entertainment."

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James Brightman avatar
James Brightman: James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.
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