President Obama Calls For Pointless Study On Video Game Violence

As expected, President Obama has revealed a list of initiatives intended to get a handle on gun-related violence, though the question of whether any of them will pass remains unknown. In addition to plans for reforms like universal background checks and a new assault weapons ban, Obama has also called for a study of the relationship between video games (and other media), and societal violence.

“Congress will fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds,” President Obama said. The study would be commissioned by the CDC, which has for years been barred by congress from conducting any study whatsoever into the causes of gun violence. (And yes, that does sound incredibly stupid.) Obama’s plan would lift that ban, and naturally we applaud the idea. However, a study on the link between video games and violence, while fair to include, further entrenches the notion that there is a link. As we’ve noted before, such links are dubious at best, particularly when the rates of violence and violent media on a country to country basis are compared.

While I hope for the best, I’m certain what will actually happen is that no matter what the results are, people will still clamor to blame gaming for violence. Prove me wrong, everyone. Please.

Via Polygon.

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12 Comments on President Obama Calls For Pointless Study On Video Game Violence


On January 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm

To be fair, I don’t really think he could leave it out in this current environment. We can be confident that what we know to be true – the art found in games and media are reflections of our violent culture, not a cause of it – will be borne out if the research is done without bias. It’s a token offering to the nuts in the NRA, though a pointless one unless he wants to issue an assault rifle to every principal too.


On January 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Too late, Ross; you won’t be proven wrong.


On January 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

What happened to the research showing that video games have no link to violence that a person goes on? I know it’s out there somewhere where people have a clear head.
I hope the next four years go by fast, sooner Obama is out of office the better.


On January 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm


It’s a problem because all the time and resources spent on stupid things like this could better be spent on dealing with real issues.

Tax gas prices. No matter how often a government study is released proving the contrary, every year pepole whine about “price fixing” by “Big Oil.” The Politicians know this, but every year, they still call the oil execs out to gain some PR points, then they can safely bury the issue afterwards. How about instead of stupid PR stunts, the money used for another pointless study was used for better research on fuel efficiency, alternative fuels, or someone finally put it to rest, and demanded Congress start thinking outside the box to come up with a solution?

Same with the video game violence thing. Even a joint project with the ESRB about its rating label, and guides on how parents should interpret the ESRB’s labels (they are already available online but should be more accessible), and how to help people make better determinations.

Or maybe how about using that research to shine light on real problems within the video game world: i.e. the rampant sexism. I normally hate the idea of an overbearing government (call me the opposite of the author lol) but this is the kind of thing that might actually get something done, rather than retreading something which is obvious.


On January 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Pointless indeed. Not to mention hypocritical. Does anyone truly understand that right now this country has funded and supplied people in this country to kill people in other countries. Plus the death tolls for that is way above what has happened here.

I don’t understand why they are worried about the miniscule numbers. I also don’t understand why no one talks about books, movies and cartoons, but only videogames.

What congress should fund is into the close to the millions of people who die every year from heart disease, cancer, suicide, etc.


On January 16, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Hmm, this is the same president who gets TONS of cash from hollywood, who are the architects of movie violence? What about studying the effects of that eh?

This man has no limitations. Not only is he going after the 2nd amendment, he’s coming for the 1st as well.

Cloud Hatless

On January 17, 2013 at 6:09 am

‘laughter’ – preventing sales of automatic rifles and demanding better security checks is hardly “going after the second amendment.” It’s called having some common sense, something lacking from the less than 1% of the population that still thinks the NRA is anything other than a corporate entity with vested financial interests. The majority of the nation would agree that having fewer people murdered with gunfire is a good thing – the fact that this is even an issue still is a clear case of the tail wagging the dog. The NRA’s influence in this should be minimal, at most.


On January 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

Are we (I’m an American Gamer) that ignorant that we are the only ones who play violent video games? Aside from the Japanese titles, most major violent games (any major FPS franchise) is an international release.

Video games aren’t played only by Americans, and gun violence is still perpetrated less around the world.

Can’t wait until the find nothing.


On January 17, 2013 at 9:34 am


Hate to detract from subject, but protip: Automatic weapons have been illegal for alooooooooooonnnnnng time. At the time the NRA was one of the big people behind the ban actually. Fascinating story.

The reason its related is you are basically as ignorant as those calling for more studies about video game violence or taxing “violent” games like Just Dance. There is an incredible amount of ignorance on this subject, and you’ve demonstrated that the NRA doesn’t have a lock on it. Bravo.


On January 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm

The results of these studies will be jaded, they will just manipulate the facts to support Obama’s political agenda of government control over guns and entertainment.


On January 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I really think the studies will show what we know they will: any “link” is almost impossible to establish, and there’s an incredibly high probability no such link exists. Like I mentioned above, it will be like “price-fixing” by Big Oil. The report is released that shows it doesn’t exist, it gets buried in the media, the people who commissioned the study don’t celebrate its release, etc.

Most government data geeks are pretty non-partisan in their analysis. If they make a blatantly political error in their analysis, they will get called on it and it would cause a lot more trouble than its worth.

No, the more ikely scenario is that the study, if it ever actually gets done, the President and those who advocated it will ignore the results. There’s a precednet in this admin *cough*SimpsonBowles*cough*


On January 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I’ve started a new drinking game. Every time I hear the phrase “for the children”, I do a shot.

Been going through a lot of Jack recently. Am I the only one who is fed up with hearing ‘the children’ being used as a crutch in place of an actual cogent argument by politicians? It’s intellectual laziness, and it’s not helping the debate.

Frankly, I don’t think that massively inconveniencing and slandering the millions of us who enjoy video games is a suitable bargain for saving ‘just one child’. If that’s really the driving argument, they better be banning swimming pools first.