- Take-Two Interactive
- Take-Two InteractiveCEO Strauss Zelnick said “blaming entertainment” for America’s mass shooting deaths is “disrespectful to the victims” while speaking to Barron’s earlier this week.
- President Donald Trump and other lawmakers have said that video games have a role to play in encouraging mass shootings, along with mental health issues.
- While violent video games are available around the world, Zelnick pointed out that mass shootings are a “uniquely American” problem.
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A day after multiple lawmakers blamed video games for causing a rise in mass shootings in America, the CEO of one of the country’s largest gaming companies is pushing back against their claims. In an interview with Barrons, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick pointed out that while video games are enjoyed around the world, mass shootings are a “uniquely American” problem.
President Donald Trump and other lawmakers have suggested that video games, mental health, and white supremacy were primary factors after a pair of mass shootings claimed 31 lives in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio this past weekend. By some definitions, the US has now suffered 250 mass shootings in 2019, and we are 218 days into the year.
“We’re just sickened and saddened by these senseless tragedies,” Zelnick told Barron’s. “That said, blaming entertainment is irresponsible. Moreover, it is highly disrespectful to the victims and their families. The fact is entertainment is consumed world-wide…but gun violence is uniquely American. So we need to address the real issues.”
Zelnick’s company Take-Two saw its stock decline by 5% in the wake of America’s latest mass shootings. The company publishes titles like “Grand Theft Auto” and “Red Dead Redemption,” both of which have been criticized for their depictions of realistic gun violence. “Call of Duty” publisher Activision and Electronic Arts, publisher of “Battlefield,” saw similar losses on the stock market on Monday.
Popular video games that glorify gun violence are available around the world, but America is the only country to suffer from repeated mass shootings. As Vox reporter Alvin Chang noted, countries with citizens that spend a comparable amount of revenue on video games per capita suffer far fewer violent gun deaths than the United States.
American lawmakers have questioned the impact of violent video games on young people since the early 1990s, and the recent rise in mass shootings has led to increased scrutiny. In a 2017 survey of Americans from the Pew Research Center, 30% of respondents believed that gaming contributed “a great deal” to gun violence.
The influence of violent games will continued to be discussed alongside mental health concerns and gun control measures s Americans continue to cope with an epidemic of mass shootings.