After President Donald Trump mused that violent video games could have been a key factor in the school shooting in Parkland, FL, reps from the gaming industry will head to a meeting at the White House for a more detailed discussion.
The exact lineup of attendees for Thursday’s meeting is not set, but it could include execs from major publishers and developers. The Entertainment Software Association confirmed a meeting today after saying last week it had not received an invite despite indications from chief White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“We have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it,” Trump said during a briefing on school safety held in the wake of the February 14 shooting. “I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.”
The President’s public grappling with the shooting’s aftermath has seen him veer from position to position in terms of gun policy and other ways for the government to respond. Students from the school have attained an uncommonly high national profile after mobilizing for policy changes after the shooting, which killed 17 people.
The ESA rejects the oft-recycled notion that video games are directly linked to real-word violence. In a statement, the ESA staked out its position: “Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the U.S. has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation. The upcoming meeting at the White House, which ESA will attend, will provide the opportunity to have a fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices.”