President Obama orders research into links between video games and violence

Video games have again become central to America’s heated debate on gun ownership that erupted in the aftermath of December’s Newtown school shootings.

President Obama yesterday revealed a 23-step plan designed to address America’s gun violence problem. And one of those steps is an order for the Center for Disease Control to conduct further research into the relationship between video games, media images and violence.

Representatives of the US games industry last week met with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss games violence. They were assured at the time that video games would not be singled out over other media. A total of 22 meetings involving some 220 different organisations from across the media were involved in this process.

$10m will be provided to the CDC for its research. "Congress will fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds," Obama stated.

The Entertainment Software Association issued a balanced response to Polygon.

"We concur with President Obama’s call today for all Americans to do their part, and agree with the report’s conclusion that ‘the entertainment and video game industries have a responsibility to give parents tools and choices about the movies and programs their children watch and the games their children play,’" it said.

"The same entertainment is enjoyed across all cultures and nations, but tragic levels of gun violence remain unique to our country. Scientific research and international and domestic crime data all point toward the same conclusion: entertainment does not cause violent behaviour in the real world.

"We will embrace a constructive role in the important national dialogue around gun violence in the United States, and continue to collaborate with the Administration and Congress as they examine the facts that inform meaningful solutions."

Obama’s other proposals include a possible ban on assault weapons.

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