US Politician Who Told Gamers ‘Quiet Down’ Says He’s Sorry

US Politician Who Told Gamers ‘Quiet Down’ Says He’s Sorry

“Gamers have just got to quiet down. Gamers have no credibility in this argument.” The guy who said those words has eaten them, via Twitter.

Leland Yee, author of the California anti-video game bill that the Supreme Court struck down in 2011, apologised yesterday to video gamers for remarks he made in a San Francisco Chronicle examination of violent video games and the ongoing gun violence debate in America.

“Gamers, I admittedly didnt use best words to SFchron,” he tweeted. “Meant video game industry has inherent conflict of interest in the gun violence debate.”

“I have a lot of respect for many gamers,” he added in another tweet. “Many are on my staff and in my family — but the industry has profited at the expense of children.”

I’m not sure how the video games industry has a conflict of interest here, though Yee may be referring to the fact the Entertainment Software Ratings Board is run by the Entertainment Software Association, the industry’s lobbying arm (a complaint he’s made before.)

Still, given how rare it is for a lawmaker to admit any mistake, let’s take this.

Picture: Associated Press


  • “but the industry has profited at the expense of children”
    Umm, what?
    He’s either saying that the industry has profited at the expsense of children’s lives, which makes no sense, it’s not like anyone got money for each child killed.
    Or (more likely) he’s saying they profited from sales, of games, to children who would have paid using their parents cash. Oh the horror! Not profits!

    • Or he could just be saying that the game industry profits from the lack of regulation that allows children to easily buy games that (even ESRB admit) are inappropriate for their age group. It’s pretty fair to point out that the game industry stands to gain or lose money based on tighter or looser regulation and thus their judgement in this situation, while not entirely invalid, is conflicted to the point where they have to consider excusing themselves from decision making.

      This guy isn’t actually that bad. He gets a lot of heat from gamers because he’s not blindly pro-gamer but at the end of the day he’s open to discussion on video game topics and seems to legitimately want to find the best outcome, which is a lot more than most in his position.

      I always find it strange that after suffering years of mindless scapegoating and baseless attacks gamers reject people who are open to the issues while praising anybody who’ll say ‘nope, nothing could ever be wrong with games and we’re perfect and it’s probably all this other stuff I know you hate’. I look at articles on these sorts of topics and it’s pretty clear gamers have got so used to being on the defensive that they’re no longer interested in talking they just want to win.

      • How much more could you realistically expect the industry (as far as developers and publishers are concerned) to do to prevent kids from playing games that are not made for them? Games are being made and distributed with ratings and information on their content and consoles have built in parental controls. At some point you’ve got to say the industry has done enough to get the information out there, now it’s up to the parents.

        • I understand what you’re saying and agree to a point, but the ratings are largely meaningless in real world situations. Parents don’t appear to be understanding ESRB and retailers don’t properly enforce/explain the ratings so there’s a problem that requires attention. ESRB either are intentionally not doing enough or (more realistically) can’t do enough on their own to prevent kids from playing games that ESRB judges inappropriate for them.
          Frankly I think the biggest part of the problem is retailers. While the people actually physically selling the games to kids may want to explain ESRB to parents or refuse sale there’s pressure from the people profiting from it (ie, store owners) to just make the sale. ESRB has exhausted their options so we’ve got to consider taking it further.
          [For the record I’m not entirely in favour of taking it further, I’ve just got to accept that some people feel it needs to be and there is some reason to so we need to explore the idea.]

          That said his point still stands. They’ve got a conflict of interest because it’s directly tied to how much money they make. Their voice needs to be heard but their influence needs to be appropriately limited. I can’t fairly demand that of the NRA and then turn around and say ‘no, it’s different for the game industry because they’re on my side’.

        • The industry may have done enough, but the brick and motar stores still persist profit is more important. My son (who is 12) purchased Call of Duty – Black Ops from EB’s. Note: my son looks 12 not 15. Needless to say no Black Ops for him and a return to the store (at my wife’s persistance) The store manager (who looked about 19) just said sorry and kind of shrugged. This is what I am talking about no mater how much the industry tries to take care in providing the best information, at the end of this chain the stores have to also be responsible.

          • I’ve seen EB make a kid go and get his parents when he’s tried to buy an M Rated game so perhaps this should be an enforced thing in all stores. I wouldn’t want it to get to the point where the store refuses to sell the game to a parent buying for their child though, because I think parents should have the right to make the choice on what their own kid can handle – but they should be given the information to make that choice.

          • Name and shame which store it is. I distinctly remember getting ID’d when I bought Bioshock a few years back.

            … I was 17.

          • I tend to agree, the fault lies with the retailers and/or the parents… (the argument that ratings are too hard to understand doesn’t fly with me… how hard is “you must be 17 or older to play this game” to follow?)
            perhaps we need spot checks by ratings enforcers, similar to licensing controls on pubs. they come in, card a few customers, ask a few questions, submit a report and leave.

          • Or secret customers who buy without ID. I know that at the movies if you let someone in who is underage, the person selling the ticket is fined, the location is fined and the company is fined and they have people come up to test it fairly regularly.

          • That’s poor service by your EB, but not all of them are that bad. I watched a kid about 12 try to purchase Saints Row 2, the guy behind the counter asked where his father was, when pointed out he asked “Are you OK with your son buying this game that was rated Adults Only every where else in the world?” The father said it’s fine.

            EB don’t need to sell Adult games (GTA, COD) to kids because they know if the kid can’t get COD they’ll still get another game, the store will still get a sale if the parent says no to that specific game, they’ll buy another game. I’ve seen it happen, kid wanted GTA4, Sales guy asked mom, told her about the game, she said no. The kid pleaded got told no, pick something else or don’t get a game at all. He picked something else, she asked about it and decided it was fine.

            EB gets a sale either way so better to be pro-active and polite about it than greedy and stupid.

  • This is starting to get ridiculous, I’m fucking 20ish I should be aloud to made derisions about the media i expose my self too. The fact that I play games has never influenced how I look at KILLING SOMEONE WITH A GUN. I don’t own a gun and never will… The fact the people are SHOOTING people to death means there are too many GUNS in the hands of crazy people that need help! But oh no!!! I’m not allowed to call someone crazy because that not politically correct. So instead of helping that are not exactly “crazy” lets just blame every teenager and young adult out there and say that everyone could become like those people. Lets blame video games instead of guns, that way we can still sell guns at every shop in the us…

    Oh here’s an interesting chart that I’m sure hasn’t made its way into any of the “clever” US politicians hands:

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