Trump spurns experts for his video game meeting

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For decades, it has been widely debated what kind of impact violent video games and movies have on people, especially children and those with mental health issues. On March 8th, President Donald Trump met with a bunch of video game experts such as Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick (parent company of Grand Theft Auto developer, Rockstar Games), Robert Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media, and Mike Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association amongst other high profile industry executives. The video was shown to attendees at the beginning of the White House's meeting about violent video games, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

"While the clips were playing, [Trump] was pointing out how violent those scenes were", meeting attendee and Parents Television Council program director Melissa Henson said in a conference call.

Global data appears to support the lack of a link as most countries that spend a lot of money on video games have low rates of violent gun deaths.

If game industry representatives hoped their meeting with President Trump today would help change his mind after recent statements of concern over violence in video games, they came away sorely disappointed.

The White House statement goes against the overwhelming consensus of the research community, which has shown wide agreement that exposure to violent games in youth has little to no relationship with violent outcomes later in life.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders addressed the meeting yesterday during her press briefing.

The video game industry has said there is no evidence of a connection between its product and violent conduct.

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"We're going to be very fair and very flexible, but we're going to be protecting the American worker", the president said. "Discussions should not be limited to just video games and guns".

'I look at some of the things he's watching, and I say, how is that possible?' Trump added last week.

Although there were no solutions announced after the discussion, the president has suggested in the past the need for a new ratings system for the games.

The Entertainment Software Association, which includes Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Nintendo, and Sony was part of the White House meeting.

"Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the United States has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation", said Dan Hewitt, a spokesman for lobby group the Entertainment Software Association, earlier. While there is a documented link between violent video games and the level of aggression in players, those players may already be predisposed to aggression from other factors in their lives, and feeling aggressive does not necessarily result in acting violently.

Conservative activists and members of Congress, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida were also in attendance.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly referenced the violence in movies and video games during his public comments about guns and school safety since last month's Florida shooting.

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