Games have 'no factual link to real violence, but there's a perception issue' - EA CEO

EA ready to step up to tackle 'perception problem' targeting "mature, responsible" games industry

EA CEO John Riccitiello has said there's no factual link between games and gun violence, but the games industry must regardless step up to tackle the "perception issue".


In a thorough response to gun violence-related questioning during today's Q3 FY2013 financials call, Riccitiello called the games industry a "very mature, responsible industry" that must be "a part of the solution" to the reputation of games and their perceived link to real life violence.

"The games industry is a very mature, responsible industry, more so than you might otherwise imagine," said Riccitiello. "We're very confident in the quality of our content and the lack of an actual factual linkage to any of the actual violence that takes place in America and markets around the world.

"There is no doubt that we, like you, were stunned and horrified by the violence in Connecticut or Colorado and many other places over the years. But there's been an enormous amount of research done in the entertainment fields looking for linkages between entertainment content and actual violence and they haven't found any," he added.

"I could give you long stories about how people in UK, or Denmark or Ireland or Canada consume as much or more violent games and violent media as we do in the United States, and yes, they have an infinitely smaller incidence of gun violence, but that's not really the point. The point is, the direct studies that have been done - hundreds of millions of dollars of research that has been done - has been unable to find a linkage because there isn't one."

Riccitiello went on to says that that 'this past Summer' the US Supreme Court, with all the evidence presented to it, came to the conclusion that games "deserve all of the First Amendment Right freedoms that are afforded to any media".

Riccitiello made the case that, despite this, there is a significant "perception issue" that the industry should not ignore.

"We understand that while there may not be an actual problem, given all the finger-pointing going on in the press, there appears to be the perception of a problem and we do have to wrestle with that," he said.

"We're responsible, we're mature, we intend to be part of the solution. Our media reaches literally every American and that can be used as a voice for good," he added, saying EA will no doubt speak more in future about "how we can be a part of the solution to this perception problem as oppose to, if you will, the butt of the joke."

Summarising his comments, Riccitiello concluded, "We were horrified like you, it's not about games, there's a perception issue, and we can be part of that solution and we're ready to step up to do that."

Earlier this month President Barack Obama staged a new challenge against America's gun policies, proposing sweeping reform to gun laws whilst urging better research into media which glamorises gun culture.

Obama urged congress to "fund research on the effects that violent video games have on young minds".

Games industry association ESA has said it will "embrace a constructive role in the important national dialogue around gun violence in the United States".

United States Senator Lamar Alexander recently stated on national television, "Video games is [sic] a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people."