Vice President Joe Biden taps developers, NRA to discuss gaming violence

Joe Biden

This Thursday, January 10, Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with gaming companies, entertainment groups and representatives from the National Rifle Association. Why convene these three disparate sections of the populace? Simple: In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting rampage that occurred on December 14, the United States government has decided that, at the very least, it needs to turn a focused eye toward violence in media. As you might expect (and much to the glee of the NRA), this centers on violent video games, TV shows and films, and what effects they might have on our youth (not to mention any would be mass killers who might emerge at some point in the future).

Biden, who was asked by President Obama to “come up with a broad range of ideas to curb gun violence,” opted to create this roundtable to offer both the NRA and entertainment industry a fair opportunity to voice their respective sides of this divisive issue. Game developers (and Hollywood), as one might expect, claim that violent video games and shows have little impact on a player’s ability to discern right from wrong. No matter how violent media might be, these industries claim, it’s simply not possible for it to influence a sane, rational person toward committing acts of violence in the real world. In turn, the NRA has come out in force since the December 14 shooting, claiming that guns are not the issue, but instead that games and television are gradually eroding our society’s moral base. If these entertainment options were less bloody, the NRA believes, those kids in Connecticut might still be alive today.

While we certainly don’t envy Biden for the decision he will eventually have to submit to the President on this topic, we’re happy to see that this government task force is not solely devoted to the unending argument over violence in the media. In addition to this week’s meeting, Reuters claims that Biden’s group is also examining “legislation that would ban assault rifles” as well as determining whether or not the average person has simple, adequate access to mental health care facilities and professionals.

It’s currently unclear as to which gaming industry professionals will find themselves exchanging ideas with the Vice President on Thursday, but the NRA has stated that it will send James J. Baker, the group’s top government lobbyist, to the meeting. As you’d expect, Baker can be a very convincing voice, so hopefully the gaming biz can find representation from an equally eloquent, engaging figure. We’d suggest SimCity creator Will Wright or Valve Software head Gabe Newell, but it’s anyone’s guess who the government has listed in its no doubt massive Rolodex.

Hollywood, by contrast, we worry less about. Sure, the NRA has some intensely powerful lobbyists, but given the huge profits regularly pulled down by studio executives and the massive mindshare the industry controls, we have little doubt that the major movie studios will be able to find adequate representation. Baker may be a seasoned speaker whose speciality is swaying government officials to his point of view, but Hollywood could very easily counter that with any number of its standout figures. Send Tom Hanks to meet with Joe Biden and this whole issue could be wrapped up in less than half an hour.

Anyway, we’ll bring you word on what transpired at Thursday’s meeting just as soon as such information is available.

Emerging Tech

Death from above? How we’re preparing for a future filled with weaponized drones

Drones are beginning to enable everything from search & rescue, to the delivery of medicines to hard-to-reach places. But they are also being used as cheap, and deadly flying bombs. How can we defend ourselves?
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (November 2018)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in October and November 2018, from new original series to classic films.
Gaming

Dinner is cancelled! How to keep Call of Duty's zombies from eating your brain

New to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies mode and don't know how to succeed? We've got the tips you need to blast away at the undead and keep yourself alive for longer, even without other players helping.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games out right now

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Computing

'World's best gaming processor'? We put Intel's new i9 through the ringer

Intel has launched the first Core i9 for the average gamer. Despite some controversies around its release, it’s the fastest gaming processor we’ve yet tested.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

Who needs a sharpshooter when you have our 'Fortnite' shooting gallery guide

Fortnite season 6, week 4 challenges are here and with it comes the shooting gallery challenge. We show you where to find the shooting gallery locations and what kind of guns to use.
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for October 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles as well as bundles that feature games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Gaming

Rockstar Games employees defend work culture following controversy

Rockstar Games employees have taken to social media to speak out about working conditions following the controversial comment about 100-hour work weeks made by co-founder Dan Houser in an interview.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Gaming

More days gone: Sony moves zombie exclusive ‘Days Gone’ to April

Sony has delayed the PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone to April. It was previously bumped from a 2018 release window into February, 2019, but Sony Bend apparently needs more time to add polish.
Gaming

Annual game releases are boring. Try a quirky indie game for the PS4 instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.