President Donald Trump’s video game panel may be stacked against gaming fans, and includes a trio of the industry’s most vocal critics and only two video game publishers.
The video game industry’s two largest publishers — Activision and Electronic Arts — are not represented in the full list. Among the critics will be author Dave Grossman, who popularized the term “murder simulators” for violent games and wrote “Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression and the Psychology of Killing,” Fortune reported Friday. Two other critics attending are Melissa Henson, a mother from the Parents Television Council, and Brent Bozell of Media Research Center.
The industry advocates are Strauss Zelnick, CEO of the publisher responsible for the Grand Theft Auto series; Robert Altman, CEO of the company behind Bethesda, which made DOOM as well as the Skyrim and Fallout series; and a representative from the Entertainment Software Association.
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The issue hearkens back to Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that video games were protected by the First Amendment and prohibited states from making it a crime to sell them to minors. There was no reason to believe violent video games produced violent behavior, Justice Antonin Scalia argued.
“California relies primarily on the research of Dr. Craig Anderson and a few other research psychologists whose studies purport to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children,” wrote Scalia. “These studies have been rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason: They do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively.”
Recent studies have discredited any correlation between violence and violent games and media. The Secret Service conducted a study in 2002 that found no evidence school shooters consumed more violent games or movies than anyone else. Chris Ferguson, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M University, made the same argument in Time Magazine following the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut.
“As a video game violence researcher and someone who has done scholarship on mass homicides, let me state very emphatically: There is no good evidence that video games or other media contributes, even in a small way, to mass homicides or any other violence among youth,” he wrote.
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