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Vice President Joe Biden Meets With Gaming Industry

And then the National Rifle Association releases a gun training app for iOS.

In the wake of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children were shot and killed, Vice President Joe Biden met with representatives from the video game industry last Friday.

Part of that meeting with Biden was recorded, as well, and I’ve embedded it below.

"We know this is a complex problem," said Biden. "We know there's no single answer, and quite frankly we don't even know whether some of the things people think impact on this impact on it or not. So I want you to know you have not been singled out for help.”

Biden is expected to brief President Obama sometime today with recommendations for how the Administration can respond to the outcry over our nation’s most recent encounter with gun violence on a massive scale.

Reuters reports representatives in attendance were from Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, E-Line Media, Entertainment Software Association, Entertainment Software Ratings Board, Epic Games, GameStop, Sesame Workshop, Take-Two Interactive, Texas A&M University, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Zenimax Media.

Additionally, the National Rifle Association, which partially blamed video games for the incident at Sandy Hook, released an app set in the first-person for iOS platforms today called NRA: Practice Range. It's available to download for free for anyone ages four and up. Weird? Weird.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
321 Comments
Posted by patrickklepek

In the wake of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children were shot and killed, Vice President Joe Biden met with representatives from the video game industry last Friday.

Part of that meeting with Biden was recorded, as well, and I’ve embedded it below.

"We know this is a complex problem," said Biden. "We know there's no single answer, and quite frankly we don't even know whether some of the things people think impact on this impact on it or not. So I want you to know you have not been singled out for help.”

Biden is expected to brief President Obama sometime today with recommendations for how the Administration can respond to the outcry over our nation’s most recent encounter with gun violence on a massive scale.

Reuters reports representatives in attendance were from Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, E-Line Media, Entertainment Software Association, Entertainment Software Ratings Board, Epic Games, GameStop, Sesame Workshop, Take-Two Interactive, Texas A&M University, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Zenimax Media.

Additionally, the National Rifle Association, which partially blamed video games for the incident at Sandy Hook, released an app set in the first-person for iOS platforms today called NRA: Practice Range. It's available to download for free for anyone ages four and up. Weird? Weird.

Staff
Posted by Walreese55

IN what world is Joe Biden called upon to be a voice of reason and to lead? Joe Fucking Biden, the man who literally could not keep his mouth open for more than five minutes without embarrassing himself

Edited by Totoni

Wait. First they blame video games for the shooting, and then they release their own video game? It's just a target practice game, but that's just as hypocritical as it can be. Also ages four and up? That's just... I can't... What... Ahh, I give up.

Posted by Yanngc33

What is ging on...

Posted by mrfluke

good for joe biden, i wouldnt be surprised if i get flack for this (which go ahead, as youill be talking to a wall, im remaining stubborn on my stance) but if it was anybody else, they would have come down on videogames as the reason.

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

The mission No Russian in COD MW2 is deplorable. Kids are playing that, it's interactive and can't be compared to violent movies because you are the one choosing to shoot all the bystanders in the airport in a mass shooting simulator, it is bad taste and was only in that game to create the controversy or as head honchos like to call "free advertising".

Posted by mrfluke

also get ready patrick, i wouldnt be surprised if the comments on this story turn into another shitstorm.

Posted by Vaco

Art is a reflection of the culture,not the other way around.

Posted by oraknabo

Joe Biden is a great Senator and was a legitimate Presidential Candidate in '88. Biden is an incredibly caring human being that has been through a ton of shit and had done more good for people in his life than most of us ever will. If you believe the buffoon image of him, you must be watching Fox News.

Posted by LikeaSsur

It doesn't sound right to me that only a handful of companies were in attendance (of which 6 of the companies listed don't actually develop games) and were called "The video games industry."

Posted by Artie

Can Patrick or Alex give us a recap of if this video is worth watching, insane/delusional or pointless?

Posted by cgeare

I'm not exactly pro-Biden, but I'm gonna go ahead and give props to Biden for not using the Vgame industry as a scapegoat all together. Sounds like the NRA got their signals crossed.

Posted by spiralcut

The beauty of that NRA game is that it says "Start Shooting..." WTF why is that ellipsis there?

Posted by Ravenlight

More like Old White Guys Faff About So They Look Good When Reelections Happen.

Posted by MrMazz

Gotta admit when I saw the headline thought this was a Alex article, not that I'm complaining the headline just seemed very alex-y (that's a word right? No. OK).

Thanks for providing the video was wondering what that meeting sounded like.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@Walreese55: He has been a great politician, been though a lot in his life, but worked hard through the political ranks instead of just buying his way in there.

Posted by Unequivocable

That's a pretty good turnout for game companies. The biggest noticeable absence (for western developers) is Ubisoft (aka. the face-stabbing simulator folks).

The acknowledgment of the complexity of the issue is also a good starting point. Hopefully that sets a non-witch hunt tone for the discussions. The worst way to start any discussion is by saying "this is a black and white simple issue". That doesn't leave a lot open for debate.

Posted by RobertOrri

@mrfluke said:

also get ready patrick, i wouldnt be surprised if the comments on this story turn into another shitstorm.

@Walreese55 said:

IN what world is Joe Biden called upon to be a voice of reason and to lead? Joe Fucking Biden, the man who literally could not keep his mouth open for more than five minutes without embarrassing himself

That didn't take long.

Posted by Draxyle

Not sure how I feel about those people in particular representing the gaming industry, though I suppose they'll always be on our side as far as this specific debate goes.

I resent the fact that such a meeting had to take place at all, but I can understand why. The gaming industry still needs to defend itself and make its case to the woefully uninformed public. We can't exactly let the politicians take full reign over the discussion, or bad things will happen.

@Totoni said:

Wait. First they blame video games for the shooting, and then they release their own video game? It's just a target practice game, but that's just as hypocritical as it can be. Also ages four and up? That's just... I can't... What... Ahh, I give up.

The same reason they never blamed Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, or Battlefield in any of their speeches. They love the games that sell guns. That's practically their main reason for existing in the first place.

Posted by Grasu

this didnt seem to be focused on the video games industry at all.

Edited by jsnyder82

Biden is a cool guy. I guess if anybody's going to handle something like this, I'm glad it's him.

Plus he made a great cameo in Parks and Recreation.

Also, fuck the hypocritical NRA. With an old, rough wooden spoon.

Posted by wumbo3000

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

The mission No Russian in COD MW2 is deplorable. Kids are playing that, it's interactive and can't be compared to violent movies because you are the one choosing to shoot all the bystanders in the airport in a mass shooting simulator, it is bad taste and was only in that game to create the controversy or as head honchos like to call "free advertising".

If somehow kids are playing that, then their parents have already messed up. Modern Warfare 2 is an M-rated game. Kids under the age of 18 can't buy those games. It means that parents have bought those games for them. The responsibility ultimately falls upon the parents.

And I just need to say this. If some person actually plays that No Russian level and then gets the thought, "Oh wow, playing this mission makes me want to go outside and do this! Yeah!", then that person has some serious problems. There have been far more gruesome things and events in so many other types of media, and I don't think that holding a gamepad really simulates using a gun to kill people.

Posted by FiestaUnicorn

Leave it to the NRA to be more concerned about mentally ill people having access to video games more so than guns.

Posted by Dixavd

I don't know enough about what happened there (and in closed doors) to properly judge it. But I am pleasently surprised how they did this to get away from the demonising, dehumanising of videogames. Actually having people meet face-to-face is a fantastic way to start these talks (most won't notice; but it is vastly more useful than simply read-out text responses from companies).

I can't say how this will ultimately turn out, but this start could have been drastically worse for everyone involved.

Posted by CaLe

I really don't like how I'm constantly hearing about the 20 children and nothing about the adults who lost their lives. It's like who gives a shit about adults? Don't like it one bit.

Posted by Thejugglingbum

Klepek Klepek

Posted by Animasta

@Walreese55 said:

IN what world is Joe Biden called upon to be a voice of reason and to lead? Joe Fucking Biden, the man who literally could not keep his mouth open for more than five minutes without embarrassing himself

sorry, joe biden is awesome (for a politician that is)

Online
Posted by Grasu

@Thejugglingbum said:

Klepek Klepek

Oh yeah boy, thats how I like it

Posted by McGhee

Nice of them to let the old geezer get out and get some fresh air.

Posted by tourgen

end the war on drugs

pour funding into mental health care

stop stigmatizing mental health conditions so people actually go get help when they need it

recognize we will never be able to stop every bad thing from ever happening

Posted by Ehker

Seems a weak argument at calling the NRA hypocritical. Agree or disagree, I believe they've been very clear at targeting VIOLENT games, and this appears to be target practice.

Also have to wonder about calling out the age rating, when those Olympic London 2012 games are rated E for everyone and also have similar shooting events.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@wumbo3000 said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

The mission No Russian in COD MW2 is deplorable. Kids are playing that, it's interactive and can't be compared to violent movies because you are the one choosing to shoot all the bystanders in the airport in a mass shooting simulator, it is bad taste and was only in that game to create the controversy or as head honchos like to call "free advertising".

If somehow kids are playing that, then their parents have already messed up. Modern Warfare 2 is an M-rated game. Kids under the age of 18 can't buy those games. It means that parents have bought those games for them. The responsibility ultimately falls upon the parents.

And I just need to say this. If some person actually plays that No Russian level and then gets the thought, "Oh wow, playing this mission makes me want to go outside and do this! Yeah!", then that person has some serious problems. There have been far more gruesome things and events in so many other types of media, and I don't think that holding a gamepad really simulates using a gun to kill people.

It's not even just kids, I felt that mission was really infuriating. You couldn't even shoot the terrorists you just had to play along with massacring this airport. It's just real fucking bad taste. To say that isn't fucked up, is really being ignorant.

Edited by SlashDance

The industry already has a rating system, a very strict one at that. I don't know what more you could do, really.

Inform parents that if they buy a game that's rated M to their 13 year old child, it's their responsibility. End of story.

Posted by HaltIamReptar

@wumbo3000 said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

The mission No Russian in COD MW2 is deplorable. Kids are playing that, it's interactive and can't be compared to violent movies because you are the one choosing to shoot all the bystanders in the airport in a mass shooting simulator, it is bad taste and was only in that game to create the controversy or as head honchos like to call "free advertising".

If somehow kids are playing that, then their parents have already messed up. Modern Warfare 2 is an M-rated game. Kids under the age of 18 can't buy those games. It means that parents have bought those games for them. The responsibility ultimately falls upon the parents.

To play devil's advocate here, it's extremely easy to go out and buy a prepaid card and buy M-rated games online. I know that's what I did when I was 17!

I don't have a dog in this fight so I don't really care what your response is. Just pointing out that the parent isn't always involved in M-rating purchases.

Posted by calidan777

Video games, and industry filled with liberals that is always under attack by liberals. Irony, it is a bitch. Also, if you're not American then I gives not even the smallest bit of a fuck what your opinion is on Americans owning firearms.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@CaLe said:

I really don't like how I'm constantly hearing about the 20 children and nothing about the adults who lost their lives. It's like who gives a shit about adults? Don't like it one bit.

Or the 266 Americans shot each day (Average for 2007)

Edited by KittyVonDoom

@mrfluke said:

also get ready patrick, i wouldnt be surprised if the comments on this story turn into another shitstorm.

only cuz he'z such a good writer m i rite.

I wasn't aware that only children were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting...

Posted by Rukus

Martin Talbot still said it the best: "Joe Biden wants to meet with video game developers about gun control. This is like meeting with Hot Wheels about car safety."

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

@calidan777 said:

Video games, and industry filled with liberals that is always under attack by liberals. Irony, it is a bitch. Also, if you're not American then I gives not even the smallest bit of a fuck what your opinion is on Americans owning firearms.

Actually it isn't under attack by liberals at all, the issue got brought up by a lot of people so Biden is having a discussion with them instead of just blaming video games, he's not Hillary Clinton.

Posted by Devise22

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@wumbo3000 said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

The mission No Russian in COD MW2 is deplorable. Kids are playing that, it's interactive and can't be compared to violent movies because you are the one choosing to shoot all the bystanders in the airport in a mass shooting simulator, it is bad taste and was only in that game to create the controversy or as head honchos like to call "free advertising".

If somehow kids are playing that, then their parents have already messed up. Modern Warfare 2 is an M-rated game. Kids under the age of 18 can't buy those games. It means that parents have bought those games for them. The responsibility ultimately falls upon the parents.

And I just need to say this. If some person actually plays that No Russian level and then gets the thought, "Oh wow, playing this mission makes me want to go outside and do this! Yeah!", then that person has some serious problems. There have been far more gruesome things and events in so many other types of media, and I don't think that holding a gamepad really simulates using a gun to kill people.

It's not even just kids, I felt that mission was really infuriating. You couldn't even shoot the terrorists you just had to play along with massacring this airport. It's just real fucking bad taste. To say that isn't fucked up, is really being ignorant.

Yes but that isn't the issue. In all forms of media people will find their own personal hang ups on certain missions. I liked the No Russian Mission because I felt it added some element of realism missing from the big blockbuster COD games. The fact that you had the choice NOT to shoot any people at all I felt soiled the moment. You don't think things like this go on a day to day basis? How many innocent bystanders have died in Iraq because of the ongoing conflict there? Welcome to the world we live in.

As an adult consumer you have the choice to play that mission or not. You also know that mission IS NOT reality. That mission does not give you the prerogative to go out and shoot people. Aka your old enough, mature enough and smart enough to decide if your comfortable playing that mission. (which you can turn off by the way) Parents buying them for children is the major issue on how it can influence future generations.

Either way though society needs to start looking itself in the mirror and stop blaming other entities for its issues. During this awful shooting everyone got up in arms about how the media coverage was and how they were turning the shooter into a celebrity and all the focus was on him all the time. Just like now the focus is on what impacts people to make these decisions. At what point do people get the blame for the things they do? When does society take responsibility? The media covers what people are willing to watch, stop watching and they will have to adapt to change their coverage. If you don't like the way something is handled in a game stop playing it. We as people need to learn to take responsibility for what we do in our lives more and stop blaming external influences.

Posted by Phatmac

popcorneating.gif

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@HaltIamReptar said:

@wumbo3000 said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

The mission No Russian in COD MW2 is deplorable. Kids are playing that, it's interactive and can't be compared to violent movies because you are the one choosing to shoot all the bystanders in the airport in a mass shooting simulator, it is bad taste and was only in that game to create the controversy or as head honchos like to call "free advertising".

If somehow kids are playing that, then their parents have already messed up. Modern Warfare 2 is an M-rated game. Kids under the age of 18 can't buy those games. It means that parents have bought those games for them. The responsibility ultimately falls upon the parents.

To play devil's advocate here, it's extremely easy to go out and buy a prepaid card and buy M-rated games online. I know that's what I did when I was 17!

I don't have a dog in this fight so I don't really care what your response is. Just pointing out that the parent isn't always involved in M-rating purchases.

Theres a commentator on this website that runs an internet cafe, he says parents just drop kids off there and they can play what they want. And COD MW2 was real popular when it came out, kids used to play No Russian alot.

Posted by Renahzor

This video is just Joe Biden rattling off the people they're meeting with and defining a few terms, discussing the groundwork of "If we can save even one child it's worth doing whatever it takes" etc. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with for "suggestions" out of these meetings. They're already saying they're going to use executive orders to bypass congress on some of the gun control issues they want in place, then they wonder why people are out there buying more guns before this shitstorm hits.

Posted by crow13

IGN had a great discussion about this and made some very valid points that opened me up to others perspective on games.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/12/vice-president-biden-meets-with-gaming-industry-execs

and no i'm not promoting IGN over Giant Bomb, I like to look at a lot of different sources.

Edited by Bourbon_Warrior

@Devise22 said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@wumbo3000 said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

The mission No Russian in COD MW2 is deplorable. Kids are playing that, it's interactive and can't be compared to violent movies because you are the one choosing to shoot all the bystanders in the airport in a mass shooting simulator, it is bad taste and was only in that game to create the controversy or as head honchos like to call "free advertising".

If somehow kids are playing that, then their parents have already messed up. Modern Warfare 2 is an M-rated game. Kids under the age of 18 can't buy those games. It means that parents have bought those games for them. The responsibility ultimately falls upon the parents.

And I just need to say this. If some person actually plays that No Russian level and then gets the thought, "Oh wow, playing this mission makes me want to go outside and do this! Yeah!", then that person has some serious problems. There have been far more gruesome things and events in so many other types of media, and I don't think that holding a gamepad really simulates using a gun to kill people.

It's not even just kids, I felt that mission was really infuriating. You couldn't even shoot the terrorists you just had to play along with massacring this airport. It's just real fucking bad taste. To say that isn't fucked up, is really being ignorant.

Yes but that isn't the issue. In all forms of media people will find their own personal hang ups on certain missions. I liked the No Russian Mission because I felt it added some element of realism missing from the big blockbuster COD games. The fact that you had the choice NOT to shoot any people at all I felt soiled the moment. You don't think things like this go on a day to day basis? How many innocent bystanders have died in Iraq because of the ongoing conflict there? Welcome to the world we live in.

As an adult consumer you have the choice to play that mission or not. You also know that mission IS NOT reality. That mission does not give you the prerogative to go out and shoot people. Aka your old enough, mature enough and smart enough to decide if your comfortable playing that mission. (which you can turn off by the way) Parents buying them for children is the major issue on how it can influence future generations.

Either way though society needs to start looking itself in the mirror and stop blaming other entities for its issues. During this awful shooting everyone got up in arms about how the media coverage was and how they were turning the shooter into a celebrity and all the focus was on him all the time. Just like now the focus is on what impacts people to make these decisions. At what point do people get the blame for the things they do? When does society take responsibility? The media covers what people are willing to watch, stop watching and they will have to adapt to change their coverage. If you don't like the way something is handled in a game stop playing it. We as people need to learn to take responsibility for what we do in our lives more and stop blaming external influences.

I don't see how innocent bystanders getting killed in Iraq has anything to do in a game situation that involves massacring people. When they open they open the elevator doors and just unload on civilians in some pretty realistic graphics I find that disturbing, what I am saying is to just completely write off video games in this discussion is ignorant. That is the only game that made me think this really shouldn't be in a game.

Posted by UltimAXE

I feel like if America didn't have such a boner for guns and they weren't so readily available in the first place this wouldn't be such a problem. I mean you mention that maybe the average person don't need to own semi or automatic weapons and they flip the fuck out. It's so ingrained into our culture that there's really no turning back.

Edited by FengShuiGod

Not sure why there is an implicit criticism of the NRA app. Plenty of mini game collections and online games targeted at children have similar content and many are more violent, but Patrick has been mum on those. While the NRA's criticism of games is silly, they have condemned the overwhelming violence in games that are overtly sadistic and sometimes eerily mimetic of real life violence (think No Russian or Manhunt) instead of games that are more like Olympic compilations or Wii Sports, so I don't really see any hypocrisy on their part, especially when the NRA game hopes to educate and stresses gun safety.

Edited by crow13

@wumbo3000 said:

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

The mission No Russian in COD MW2 is deplorable. Kids are playing that, it's interactive and can't be compared to violent movies because you are the one choosing to shoot all the bystanders in the airport in a mass shooting simulator, it is bad taste and was only in that game to create the controversy or as head honchos like to call "free advertising".

If somehow kids are playing that, then their parents have already messed up. Modern Warfare 2 is an M-rated game. Kids under the age of 18 can't buy those games. It means that parents have bought those games for them. The responsibility ultimately falls upon the parents.

And I just need to say this. If some person actually plays that No Russian level and then gets the thought, "Oh wow, playing this mission makes me want to go outside and do this! Yeah!", then that person has some serious problems. There have been far more gruesome things and events in so many other types of media, and I don't think that holding a gamepad really simulates using a gun to kill people.

It's not even just kids, I felt that mission was really infuriating. You couldn't even shoot the terrorists you just had to play along with massacring this airport. It's just real fucking bad taste. To say that isn't fucked up, is really being ignorant.

Bad tastes perhaps, but if we are to look at games as art, as many gamers (myself included) do, you have to understand that games, as an art form, are a form of expression and developers are free to express whatever they want. That in mind people vote with their money on what games get made. That of course is common sense. I think the bigger issue here is to educate regular american citizens, those who may not be gamers, that are buying games for themselves or their kids that not all games are for kids. That is an old social stereotype. Also that games (Like other forms of media) are going to have behavior impacts on impressionable minds, be they children or mentally disturb individuals.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@UltimAXE said:

I feel like if America didn't have such a boner for guns and they weren't so readily available in the first place this wouldn't be such a problem. I mean you mention that maybe the average person don't need to own semi or automatic weapons and they flip the fuck out. It's so ingrained into our culture that there's really no turning back.

I know right, did you see the Alex Jones interview with Piers Morgan, that guy is a fucking crazy, paranoid human being that has an arsenal of 50 guns in his house. I just don't understand why any civilian needs more than 6 bullets in a magazine and why bullets overall are so cheap. People seem to confuse gun regulation with taking away all the guns.

Posted by Branthog

When is Biden going to meet with the aluminum siding industry? I mean, as long as we're just grasping at scapegoat straws, here, why limit ourselves to gaming?