If President Trump is going to meet with the gaming industry next week, the gaming industry doesn’t know about it. The Entertainment Software Association, gaming’s biggest lobbying group, says that it had no knowledge of a meeting next week. During a question-and-answer session with the media, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced that Trump is meeting with the gaming industry next week, but she did not say who would attend that event.
“The ESA and our member companies have not received an invitation to meet with President Trump,” ESA media relations boss Dan Hewitt told GamesBeat in an email.
ESA member companies include Capcom, Epic Game, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Nintendo, and Microsoft. The ESA is also the primary point of contact between corporate game makers and Washington D.C. If the White House has not invited any of the companies in that group, then who did it invite?
I’ve reached out to the White House for a comment.
I reached out to Hewitt and the ESA as well as several major publishers after Sanders revealed the alleged meeting earlier today. A couple of companies said they didn’t have a comment at the time, which is odd. This is typically the kind of thing that every company would have prepared statements for. I expected to get back something simple like, “Johnny’s Big Game Conglomerate is looking forward to speaking with the president about the dynamic and rich world of gaming at the White House next week.”
My understanding, however, is that The ESA spent today working with its members companies to find out if anyone received an invite. It is also already going on a charm offensive to divert criticisms from Trump and other officials that interactive violence leads to real-world crime.
“The same video games played in the US are played worldwide; however, the level of gun violence is exponentially higher in the US than in other countries,” said Hewitt. “Numerous authorities have examined the scientific record and found there is no link between media content and real-life violence.”
The lobbying group also noted that it runs a self-regulation ratings group specifically to help parents understand content.
“The US video game industry has a long history of partnering with parents and more than 20 years of rating video games through the Entertainment Software Rating Board,” said Hewitt. “We take great steps to provide tools to help players and parents make informed entertainment decisions.”
Those parents even include Trump himself — although he implied that he is not interested in deciding what his child should play. During a public meeting with gun experts and policymakers, the President implied that it is up to the government or the games industry to stop his son from looking at violent material.
“The video games, the movies, the internet stuff is so violent,” Trump said. “It’s so incredible. I see it. I get to see things that you would be — you’d be amazed at. I have a young — very young son who — I look at some of the things he’s watching, and I say, ‘How is that possible?’ And this is what kids are watching.”
Truly, this is what kids are watching. Wise words.