Democratic candidate Joe Biden recently stirred some controversy among gamers with comments made during an interview session with the New York Times.
Biden, who is hoping to become the Democratic nominee for the 2020 US presidential election, told the New York Times this weekend that a multi-millionaire Silicon Valley game developer was a “little creep” when he was asked about a prior meeting with Silicon Valley entertainment companies to discuss copyright infringement protections.
“And you may recall, the criticism I got for meeting with the leaders in Silicon Valley, when I was trying to work out an agreement dealing with them protecting intellectual property for artists in the United States of America,” Biden said. “And at one point, one of the little creeps sitting around that table, who was a multi- — close to a billionaire — who told me he was an artist because he was able to come up with games to teach you how to kill people.”
At this baffling statement, New York Times opinion writer Charlie Warzel asked Biden to clarify if he was referencing video games.
“Yeah, video games,” Biden responded.
If this was truly in reference to the 2009 meeting during the Obama administration, when Biden was vice president, Kotaku believes the statement could be in reference to EA’s former CEO John Riccitiello. He was the only individual present at the meeting who worked in the video game industry.
This isn’t the first time that Biden has expressed concern over violent video games. In 2013, the former vice president had proposed that violent media, including video games, should have an additional tax. This was an idea Biden came up with after discussing the impact violent video games may have on incidents like the Sandy Hook shooting.
“This is an incident that shocked the concious of American people unlike anything I’ve seen or felt. And we’ve been around a long time. There’s no silver bullet. There’s no seat belt to put on to ensure we won’t be in this circumstance again. We don’t even know if things people think impact this actually impact this or not,” Biden said.
Biden singled out Riccitiello in this meeting as well.
“We don’t even know whether some of things people think impact on this actually impact on this or not,” Biden said, turning to the then-EA CEO. “And so I want you to know that you’ve not been, quote, singled out for help, but we’ve asked a whole lot of people.”
The current president, Donald Trump, is another political figure that’s recently spoken out against the video game industry. He riled up the gaming community when he blatantly singled out video games as the cause of terrorist attacks in Texas and Ohio.
Conservative news media organization Fox News followed Trump’s lead, saying that video games normalize violence and even celebrate it.
Video games have long since been blamed for violent behavior, dating back to Columbine when DOOM was singled out as the two teenagers’ motivation for shooting their classmates. But so far, no studies have confidently proven that video games inspire real-world violence. At times, it seems like video games are a scapegoat, a possible way to avoid discussing bigger problems in America like mental illness and gun control.
The issue isn’t exslusive to the United Staes. Other countries, like China, have also pointed a finger at video games and have even started to heavily censor the content developers can include in games distributed there. China recently banned blood and even the word “kill” from video games.