Strauss Zelnick is the CEO of Take-Two games and as a major player in the gaming industry, often appears before the media. Sometimes it’s to say things as absurd as Loot boxes being protected by freedom of speech. But recently he was on CNBC’s Mad Money where he defended gaming.
He was discussing Take Two’s recent financial report. The host of the show, Jim Cramer talked about the alleged link between video games and mass shootings. Since Take Two is behind Rockstar Games, which itself releases the popular Grand Theft Auto series, which is often cited by fear mongering tv hosts as one of the main games that promotes violence, therefore it was obvious that it would be talked about.
Strauss Zelnick had a very smart answer to this. He said that even though games were a global phenomenon, yet gun violence caused by video games seemed to be a uniquely American problem.
Jim Cramer talked about how gun violence and gaming aren’t linked statistically. Indeed, all the data says otherwise.
Strauss Zelnick had this to say,
“it’s fun to talk about entertainment, but lives were lost. The truth is that it’s disrespectful to the victims and the families to point the finger at entertainment.”
The host then asked if Zelnick would stop selling violent video games if it was proven that they’re linked to gun violence to which he responded “in the same way that I wouldn’t choose to market substances that make people sick.”
The response by Strauss Zelnick is the same response that we have gotten from the ESA and other gaming industry stakeholders. The link between violence and video games has been a popular urban myth for a few decades now. However, it was recently given prominence when the President of the United States, tried to put the blame on video games for the recent spate of mass shootings in the United States.
Donald Trump, in trying to evade responsibility for his statements that could have contributed to the White supremacist attacks, instead blamed video games and other media, for promoting violence in the society.
This has been repeatedly disproven and we hope that Walmart and all others who are actively promoting this idea with their policies will stop doing so.