ESA President: Research Linking Games to Violence Is Bunk

ESA President: Research Linking Games to Violence Is Bunk

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The ESA President says that the research cited in the case for banning violent games is all hogwash.

In an op-ed essay printed in the Baltimore Sun, the president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, Mike Gallagher outlined that there must be a compelling reason for lawmakers to take away our First Amendment rights. This is relevant because the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this November on the 2005 California law which bans selling or renting violent games to minors. Gallagher said that the studies and evidence presented by the State of California have been debunked by the courts which have already reviewed the law, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In his mind, there is no demonstrable link between playing videogames and committing violent crimes, and therefore our First Amendment rights should not be restricted.

"[Our right] can be restricted, and - as in the case of not being allowed to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater - sometimes it has been, but only if the government can provide a 'compelling' basis for the restriction; never if the basis rests on a myth," writes Gallagher.

"Indeed, there is no peer-reviewed research that proves a causal link between violence in games and real world violence," Gallagher went on, echoing the decisions of the Ninth Circuit which stated that the State of California "has not produced substantial evidence ... that violent videogames cause psychological or neurological harm to minors."

Not only that, but Gallagher points to several facts which indicate that there is no link between games and violence. "During the last 15 years, as videogame popularity has soared in this country, the rate of violent crime, particularly among the young, has been decreasing drastically - exactly the opposite of what would be expected if there was a causal link between these games and violent acts committed against real people."

He also says that other creative industries are worried about the precedent that upholding the Californian law would set. "Never before has the Supreme Court restricted freedom of speech on the basis of violent content. Accordingly, organizations representing the book, film and television industries have also filed briefs asking the Supreme Court to strike down California's law."

And finally, Gallagher sums it all up in a succinct closing line: "The California statute is unconstitutional, unwarranted and unnecessary. Based on the law and the facts - not the myths - we hope the U.S. Supreme Court concurs."

Well, I certainly concur. I hope you do too.

Source: Baltimore Sun

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if only these same guys would have been around when reefer madness was making the rounds and a serious documentary on marijuana usage. :P

right on i have said the same things and told i was cherry picking the studies i looked at and that violence is up that the media just does not report it etc. if people want to walk around blindfolded and deaf and dumb nothing we can say or point out changes their tiny minds, let us hope the sc is a tad more evolved than most of the people i have argued with.

Concur.

I'm tired of so-called 'scientific' studies linking videogames to violence. Hell, with enough people I could make a study linking the consumption of sausage rolls with violence.

Actually, sausage rolls get me pretty pissy!

Well said. Bobby Kotick could take some "saying intelligent things" lessons from this guy. So could Pachter.

P.S. Thanks

The government needs to worry more about their shitty handling of the economic crisis causing more violence among people of all ages.

All the research on this topic is completely pointless if this is happening:

Researcher A: Videogames are making kids kill everyone!

Researcher B: Videogames have no link to violence.

Seems like it'd be easier if they just cut games some slack and told parents to do their job instead. Parents spend all this time complaining when they could be using that time to actually take the violent games away from their kids.

He would say that, given his position.

Videogames sometimes causes me to get verbaly violent with people. For instance, incompetant Halo Reach players who don't use microphones in team arena. If you don't have a mic, stay the fuck out of the arenas, you can't strategise and you will lose.

Well he would say that wouldn't he. However all they doing is helping form a wedge issue with soccer mums for the Republicans. If ESA wants to kill the law they should call for the federal imposition of these good French laws. Instead of the present case of Democrats defends chins breads who want to sell your children violent porn, the narrative for Fox would be centrist Republican calls for French laws limiting our freedom of speech. How do you think that would go down with the tea party mob? Shifting the story is what the ESA need to do and not the same old predictable knee jerk reaction the Republicans are counting on.

Whenever I see "ESA" I think of European Space Agency, and not Entertainment Software Association.
This is annoying.
--
EDIT: Corrected Space Association to Space Agency...

Covarr:
Well said. Bobby Kotick could take some "saying intelligent things" lessons from this guy. So could Pachter.

P.S. Thanks

Riccitello of EA does say some good stuff himself at least. If the other games CEO's got off their asses and started acting intelligently themselves, this would be a walk in the park.
As it is I still feel like biting my nails.

I don't really know where I stand on this statement released by him. I mean, I support them, no doubt about it, on the other side, he doesn't really stress anything new or intellegent, just common knowledge....I guess all I can say is "Yay, the guy with Common sense is on our side!"

"there is no peer-reviewed research that proves a causal link between violence in games and real world violence,"

Needs to be emblazoned in 50ft. tall flaming neon signs which shoot fireworks while playing a wide selection of the most iconic and memorable video game music.

You cannot get more clear than this. There is no proof.

Brofist.

Amnestic:

You cannot get more clear than this. There is no proof.

If I can go a little further then this, I would like to clarify that not only is there no proof, there is no EVIDENCE. Not only is there not an airtight case, there isn't even evidence that would let a causal connection remain a hypothesis.

I love video games; I play them all the time. As a video gamer, I like hearing this. But I also am a student of Psychology, and have a degree in the field. I am even MORE happy as a student of Psychology to hear a voice that understands such basic scientific concepts like bias, weaknesses of correlation studies, and lack of external validity. The gamer is happy, the scientist is giddy.

Sure, he himself is biased, but we have to start somewhere.

Sadly the other side of the argument is going to ignore the voice of reason no matter how right he is because of his title.

Canid117:
Sadly the other side of the argument is going to ignore the voice of reason no matter how right he is because of his title.

That was my first thought as well. This op-ed isn't going to sway anyone, correct as it may be. Now, if it were written by a popular politician, then maybe we'd be getting somewhere.

Dexiro:
All the research on this topic is completely pointless if this is happening:

Researcher A: Videogames are making kids kill everyone!

Researcher B: Videogames have no link to violence.

It's not as pointless when you look into the people who can be described as 'Researcher A'.

Although I don't think it's needed anyway. Given the sheer amount of gamers, especially in somewhere like China (where there's also a huge population), a few of those people are bound to be a little crazy.

There's nothing strange or disturbing about that, it's just probability.

mattttherman3:
Videogames sometimes causes me to get verbaly violent with people. For instance, incompetant Halo Reach players who don't use microphones in team arena. If you don't have a mic, stay the fuck out of the arenas, you can't strategise and you will lose.

That's not the game causing you to be violent, that's just you getting annoyed with other players not following a set of unwritten rules.

OT: I hope this all turns out to be hogwash. I hope there is never any strong evidence to destroy the art of gaming because I won't be the same if all of it goes down the shitter.

Icecoldcynic:
Concur.

I'm tired of so-called 'scientific' studies linking videogames to violence. Hell, with enough people I could make a study linking the consumption of sausage rolls with violence.

SAUSAGE ROLLS!? *violently beats a pregnant whale that has been beached, while knocking cans of oil into the ocean, while his computer pirates the latest metal music, and sends hate mail to the president*

OT: yeah, video games don't cause violence, they probably attract the violent though. I'm not saying everyone who plays games wants to beat puppies, but the people who do want to beat puppies probably play games. (especially that weird shit on Adult Swim.com that has no rating and all you have to do is lie about your age to sign in, and you can play for free without signing in, anyways.)

Yeah but people who beat puppies PROBABLY watch movies, read books, listen to music and read the news paper.

Just because your beating the occasional puppy doesn't exactly mean you only consume one type of media.

Gaming is no more the cause of this hypothetical puppy beater than any other form of media he has consumed.

Amnestic:

"there is no peer-reviewed research that proves a causal link between violence in games and real world violence,"

Needs to be emblazoned in 50ft. tall flaming neon signs which shoot fireworks while playing a wide selection of the most iconic and memorable video game music.

You cannot get more clear than this. There is no proof.

REVOLUTION!

mattttherman3:
Videogames sometimes causes me to get verbaly violent with people. For instance, incompetant Halo Reach players who don't use microphones in team arena. If you don't have a mic, stay the fuck out of the arenas, you can't strategise and you will lose.

That's not the video game, that's just games and competitions in general. It's like yelling at someone in Football who doesn't listen to directions.

I really hope this gets smashed because if not, it WILL spiral out of control and infect all other forms of media out there.
I could get to the point where the government can beside what can and cant entertain us. And thats a scary tough.

Mike Gallagher, you officially win the Gaming Award For Common Sense. No cash price, sorry.

albino boo:
Well he would say that wouldn't he. However all they doing is helping form a wedge issue with soccer mums for the Republicans. If ESA wants to kill the law they should call for the federal imposition of these good French laws. Instead of the present case of Democrats defends chins breads who want to sell your children violent porn, the narrative for Fox would be centrist Republican calls for French laws limiting our freedom of speech. How do you think that would go down with the tea party mob? Shifting the story is what the ESA need to do and not the same old predictable knee jerk reaction the Republicans are counting on.

You, sir, have no idea what you're talking about. This is one issue that has very little to do with party lines, with both supporters and opponents of the law on each side.

Or are people like Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman, both avid supporters of video game censorship, Republicans now?

P.S. Thanks

I'd hardly think of the president of the ESA's as an entirely objective opinion. I guess we'll just have to see what the Supreme Court has to say in the matter.

I'm more interested in what sort of impact this decision will ultimately have on the rest of the world (especially Australia, obviously, seeing as that's where I live).

Colonel Alzheimer's:

Canid117:
Sadly the other side of the argument is going to ignore the voice of reason no matter how right he is because of his title.

That was my first thought as well. This op-ed isn't going to sway anyone, correct as it may be. Now, if it were written by a popular politician, then maybe we'd be getting somewhere.

If it were written by a popular politician then the apposing side would accuse him of not caring for the children or some other bullshit. It does not matter who disagrees with them be it the President of the ESA, a popular politician, or plain facts. They have an agenda and they are going to blindly push it because life is about never admitting you are wrong!!!!

Even if it gets crushed the issue will rear it's ugly head every time some kid goes ape shit with a gun and the feds find a 5 foot stack of FPS's in his room. It's inescapable...

Covarr:

albino boo:
Well he would say that wouldn't he. However all they doing is helping form a wedge issue with soccer mums for the Republicans. If ESA wants to kill the law they should call for the federal imposition of these good French laws. Instead of the present case of Democrats defends chins breads who want to sell your children violent porn, the narrative for Fox would be centrist Republican calls for French laws limiting our freedom of speech. How do you think that would go down with the tea party mob? Shifting the story is what the ESA need to do and not the same old predictable knee jerk reaction the Republicans are counting on.

You, sir, have no idea what you're talking about. This is one issue that has very little to do with party lines, with both supporters and opponents of the law on each side.

Or are people like Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman, both avid supporters of video game censorship, Republicans now?

P.S. Thanks

And why do you think they are supporting the law? Might it be that have made the political calculation that they can afford to alienate the chin breads, who aren't going to vote Republican whatever happens. Which 2 Democrats could be running for the 2012 presidential nomination? Oh yeah its Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman. I bet if you look down the list of democrats who support the law you will find either that they are in tight races or they are looking at a national run in 2012. The democrats did something similar with the parental advisory labels on music. They used Al Gores wife to push for it while he was VP. Why do you think Al Gore associated himself with that, could it be he had presidential ambitions?

Even if you don't think its political ESA are screwing up. Ever time they put out a statement talking about rights they are agreeing with the premiss of the question

Current

FOX: So Mike Gallagher as head of ESA your against the the Californian law?

Mike Gallagher: Yes we have first First Amendment rights

Fox: So you have a legal right to sell violent and sexually graphic games to our kids?

Mike Gallagher: Errrr.....

What it should be

Mike Gallagher: So Mike Gallagher as head of ESA your against the the Californian law?

Mike Gallagher: Thats a good question. However what the real question is why is the Governor trying to imposes this French law on the American public?

Fox: Errr.....

Esa are only preaching to the converted. The argument about first amendment rights is not going to cut very much ice with the vast majority of the public who don't game. Saying that we have a legal right to sell violent and sexually graphic games to kids is never going to be a popular position. ESA needs to change the story to something else thats a much easier sell to the wider public. Its much easier to get a broad base of public support with the argument about imposing foreign laws than its is with the current strategy. Purely staking everything on a court case is a bad move because you might lose for start and laws can be changed by politicians.

Guy's a goddamn hero in my book.

 

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