Orlando Shooting Puts E3’s Shooting Games in Crosshairs

Video game industry has many shooting games to promote this week at its biggest trade show

The mass shooting in Orlando has cast a pall on the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 — a video game trade show with a heavy emphasis on first-person shooter games.

The largest and most prominent video game trade show kicked off in Los Angeles on Sunday, and showcases video games including violent shooter games such as Electronic Arts’ “Battlefield 1.” In remarks at 1 p.m. PT, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson didn’t mention the Orlando shooting at all. The first game showcased after his opening statement was the shooter “Titanfall 2.”

Shooter franchises like “Battlefield” and Activision’s “Call of Duty,” in which the player is given an arsenal of firearms and tasked with killing enemies, are among the most popular in the industry. Though there is no indication the Orlando killer played first-person shooting games, past mass killings — including the Columbine massacre — have sparked criticism of games that let people imagine themselves as gunmen.

“The Orlando tragedy was a horrific act of terrorism and a crime of hate,” the Entertainment Software Association said in a statement to TheWrap. “Our thoughts are with the families of all those affected. We ask all those in the Orlando-area to contact their local Red Cross and donate however possible. As for E3, we take security seriously and already had processes and personnel in-place to help ensure the safety of our attendees.”

TheWrap has requested comment from major publishers EA and Ubisoft, and platform holders Sony and Microsoft, but none has said yet whether they were change their planned E3 presentations.

One company, Bethesda Softworks, changed its Twitter avatar in support of the Orlando victims.