Violent Content Research Act gets attention from major publisher

Activision unleashes lobbyists on violent games bill

Activision-Blizzard has asked a lobbying group to tackle a Senate bill that calls on Congress to investigate the effects of violent video games on children.

The Violent Content Research Act was first introduced by West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller in December of last year, and called for the national academy of sciences to fund research into the hot-button issue in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The bill wasn’t given a vote before Congress was disbanded, but has since been reintroduced with bipartisan support.

While most games companies and trade bodies have remained silent on the issue, and have in the past been supportive of the idea of more research, the ECA has voiced its opposition to the bill, which it says is a first step towards future legislation of video game content and a distraction from the real causes of violence.

While the publisher has itself remained silent on the bill, Activision has been a major part of the violence in games debate since it first became a national issue after the console release of Mortal Kombat, and records show the company has hired lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to represent their interests to congress.

The firm was first employed by Activision beginning in August 2010 over the “regulation of video game content; online video games; privacy issue”, but this agreement was amended last month as the publisher set its sights on the Violent Content Research Act.

The records show that Activision has paid Akin Gump $130,000 over the course of their three-year relationship.

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