The Entertainment Software Association, a leading trade association representing many of the biggest video game companies in the world, is pushing back against President Trump and other politicians that are placing some of the blame for recent mass shootings on video games.
“Numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence,” the ESA said in a statement on Monday morning. “More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.”
The ESA counts Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Nintendo among its members.
In remarks from the White House earlier on Monday, President Trump addressed the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed 31 people and injured dozens of other victims this past weekend.
“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” the president said, adding the attacks were a “crime against all humanity.”
The president then said “we must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” including “the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.” Trump warned of the “perils of the internet and social media” and said it was “too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence.
The President’s comments came a day after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy condemned violent games during an interview with Fox News.
“The idea of these video games that dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals and others — I’ve always felt that is a problem for future generations and others,” Rep. McCarthy, a Republican from California, said. We’ve watched from studies shown before of what it does to individuals. When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”
Trump and McCarthy added to a long list of politicians and pundits that have skewered video games in the past. Notably, In 2005, Hillary Clinton co-sponsored a bill alongside Joe Lieberman that would’ve banned video game sales to minors.
“We need to treat violent video games the way we treat tobacco, alcohol, and pornography,” then-Senator Clinton said at the time.
On Monday Stetson University psychologist Christopher J. Ferguson told The Atlantic there is no connection between video games and real-life violence.
“The evidence is very clear that there’s not a relationship between violent video games and violence in society. There’s not evidence of a correlation, let alone a causation,” Ferguson said.