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

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Movies & TV

New trailer for 'The Punisher' season 2 teases a bloody showdown

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Gaming

Console wars are so last-gen. Check out all the games that support crossplay

Crossplay is still in its infancy, but a growing number of games support online multiplayer between competing platforms. Here's a list of all games that support console crossplay.
Gaming

Want to trick out your PlayStation 4? These themes will get you started

Personalize your gaming experience with some of our favorite themes for the PlayStation 4, including free, paid, static, and dynamic options.
Gaming

‘Mortal Kombat 11’ is even gorier and crazier than we expected

NetherRealm Studios unveiled Mortal Kombat 11 on January 17 and the game looks to be just as gory and over the top as fans have come to expect. Former MMA fighter Ronda Rousey will appear as Sonya Blade.
Gaming

Play your games whenever you want with a MicroSD card for your Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridge-based games, but its internal storage may fill up quicker than you would think. Here's what you should consider when picking out a MicroSD card to expand your Switch's storage capacity.
Gaming

Get your pilot skills up to snuff for this week's 'Fortnite' challenge guide

The Fortnite season 7, week 7 challenges are now available. The major challenge this week requires you to visit all the Fortnite expedition outposts in the game and we walk you through how to get to each.
Gaming

Get extra life with our tips and tricks for 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a much more difficult game than you'd believe based on its adorable art style and 2D perspective. Here's how you can master the game's toughest challenges.
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has two distinct Mario experiences in one package. In this guide, we'll show you how to find all of the secret exits in New Super Mario Bros. U, that lead to hidden levels and let you skip worlds.
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Luigi U Deluxe'

Just like all other 2D Mario games, New Super Mario Bros. Deluxe includes secret exits and world skips. In this guide, we'll show you how to get to all 12 secret exits in New Super Luigi U.
Gaming

For Netflix, ‘Fortnite’ on YouTube is a bigger threat than HBO

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix explained that it views the video game Fortnite as bigger competition than HBO, with YouTube videos of the game drawing viewers away from the streaming platform.
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.