Almost as fast as they came together, Donald Trump's videogame summit seems to fall apart.
Last week, after the school shooting in Florida that killed 17 people, Trump held a meeting on school safety at the White House, where he said: "We have to look at the Internet, because a lot of bad things are happening to young people" . children and young minds, and their minds are forming, and we have to do something about what they are seeing and how they are seeing it. And also video games. "
At an official meeting yesterday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that the president plans to meet with industry leaders next week "to see what they can do on that front."
"ESA and our member companies have not received an invitation to meet with President Trump."
This was great news for many of the largest companies in the video game industry, which not only had no plans to attend the summit, but also did not know what was taking place. Representatives of several of the major gaming companies that The Verge contacted were surprised by the announcement, and we could not locate anyone in the industry who had been contacted or who said they would be willing to attend. The Entertainment Software Association, an industry group representing companies such as Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Capcom, Square Enix, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, responded with a statement that denied knowledge of the meeting and pushed against its premise.
"ESA and our member companies have not received an invitation to meet with President Trump," the group said in a statement. "The same games that are played in the US are played all over the world, however, the level of armed violence is exponentially higher in the US than in other countries." Numerous authorities have examined the scientific records and they have discovered that there is no link between the content of the media and violence in real life. "
It is not yet clear what the White House has planned for the meeting, and it is quite possible that new guests may still leave the industry, but it does not seem likely. For video game companies, this is a situation with no way out. The legal case of games like freedom of expression is even stronger than it was after Columbine, but with the political protest against each and every one of the organizations that are considered to allow armed violence, it seems to be the moment wrong to play hardball.
But even presenting to the meeting carries significant political risks. The CEOs who joined the President's Advisory Board at the beginning of his term saw an immediate reaction, and most of the councils were dissolved as a result of subsequent controversies. There are also no convincing arguments to establish a link between violent video games and mass shootings, and giving in to Trump's demands could unleash a huge reaction from players who are hypersensitive even to a minimum of censorship. There is no advantage to gaming companies in any of this, and in innumerable ways to hurt themselves.
The best result would be if everyone involved simply forgot that it ever happened. Because this is Trump, it's a real possibility. Sanders was vague about the time of the meeting, saying simply "next week", but that is still remarkably soon. If next week passes without anyone in the White House remembering this announcement, there will be many executives giving sighs of relief.