Activision Hires Big-Time Lobbying Firm As Violent Games Bill Looms

Activision Hires Big-Time Lobbying Firm as Violent Games Bill Looms

Activision has gone out and hired a lobbyist — one of the biggest lobbying firms in Washington — for representation when US Senator Jay Rockefeller's violent video games bill, which would order research into any causal links between violent video games and violent behaviour, comes to the US Senate floor.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is no joke. It's a bigtime law firm with lots of experience lobbying lawmakers. (The man who led the investigation of Pete Rose's betting activities for Major League Baseball back in 1989 is a big name there.) So this isn't coming cheap, but then, the maker of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Diablo does have a lot of money.

Generally, the industry's lobbyist is the Entertainment Software Association, which has done a good job of altering or shutting down anti-games bills in state legislatures, and has been visible on matters such as Vice President Biden's summit with the industry back in January, and in pushing for a version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (though it later withdrew its support of that bill altogether.) So it's noteworthy that Activision apparently sees this issue as important enough to get its own lobbyist as the bill makes its way to a vote. We've asked an Activision representative if the company wishes to comment on its goals here, but the publisher already no-commented to The Washington Post.

Rockefeller's bill, introduced back in January, was a response to the Sandy Hook shootings of December. It directs the National Academy of Sciences to "conduct a comprehensive study and investigation of the connection between violent video games and violent video programming and harmful effects on children." Video games would be scrutinized for their "interactive nature and the personal and vivid way violence is portrayed, have a unique impact on kids." When Rockefeller introduced the bill back in January, he argued that game makers weren't taking responsibility to protect children from violent content, necessitating the government's involvement.

'Warcraft' video game maker hires lobbyists to make its case [Washington Post]


Comments

    I'm glad Activision are doing this. What we would get if the bill passed, is falsified, corner cutting results that over-exaggerate one, tiny miniscule link between violence and videogames that would probably be so insignificant that drinking water could emulate the same connection.

    What I don't get is, what are Rockefeller's motivations? Does the videogames industry somehow lose him money, or is he just genuinely stupid?

    Last edited 10/09/13 11:53 am

      Simple politics...

      We can't touch gun laws but if we deflect the cause to our media target of the generation ie. video games. We can claim to be doing something to "fix the problem" w/o actually doing crap all to fix ANYTHING

    They could of course just submit all the studies that have shown no causal links.

    So.... am I the only one who didn't skim through the pathetic excuse for the bill?

    "Oh look we've had a mass shooting at a pre-school! Quick we should conduct a study these so called video games and links w/ violence! Because thats the biggest problem here right?"

    "What about the actual ease in which our said prepretator got his..."

    "NO TIME FOR THAT! VIDEO GAMES ARE THE CULPRIT!"

    I mean REALLY PEOPLE?! YOU CAN'T EVEN GET PROPER WEAPONS LEGISLATION DONE AND YOU'VE ALREAD GONE THROUGH THE PROCESS OF APPROVING A BILL/STUDY ON VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES?!?!

      They have to do something (not necessarily anything effective, just something), and they can't touch guns. So. Nearest easy-to-fix scapegoat, it is!

        I personally wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for the fact a lot of pop culture/western entertainment gets sorely screwed over by dumb legislation from "'Murica!"

        Like the good olde Comic Code of Standards which basically annihilated all forms of printed adult oriented comics at the time until just the last 20-30 years or so when the industry "grew up" and people realised they didn't really care about that "Code of Standards"

          Man did we get some fun 80s whiplash outta THAT whole episode.

          I don't think they're really going to do much with the games. It's a pretty transparent thing, and there are too many gamers out there, too much money, and too little results for it to really stick. Obviously it helps to Activision throw some lawyers at it, but this is just thrashing they have to do to seem like they're doing something and to avoid trying to touch guns.

          Shit keeps happening... they will need to do something. And it won't be banning games, because that shit won't work and it'll keep happening and they'll keep being desperate. Never desperate enough to touch guns, but maybe enough to strip away a few other civil liberties and fill more jails.

          Heh. They'll probably even do something about tackling mental health across the country before they touch the guns.

    2 points
    1 - "he argued that game makers weren’t taking responsibility to protect children from violent content, necessitating the government’s involvement"
    What of the parents responsibility? surely if guidelines exist to inform purchases then the burden shifts to the people spending their money.

    We don't blame gunsmiths for a product designed to kill (though people try), we don't blame tobacco companies for a product that can lead to poor health and preventable death (though people try). hell, we don't even blame drugs, and nobody has the balls to blame the people taking them. We do however blame (and by we I mean the people who have power to make change i.e. not we, but them) video games for everything terrible that has even a remote connection because we, as gamers, rarely care enough to "take" action, we will talk but often fail to act. It is in this spirit that Activision are doing right by its customer base

    2 - That being said, we all know that there is at best an insignificant causal link between violent games and violent behavior, one that is present in "all" forms of competitive activity and if the research goes ahead for whatever reason, providing that action isn't taken before the results of the research is found, and that there is an unbiased oversight of any research performed, and the research is looking for the truth rather than the answers required to promote political agenda, then I would say that the bill itself is not a completely terrible idea. But that is a long list of if's.

    tl;dr why is it the developers fault that a school got shot up? I agree with the research if it is unbiased

      That's all besides the point though....

      Their basically using "research on games" as a smokescreen for looking like the government has done "something" to improve everyone's lives after the shootings. When in actual fact IT'S NOT DOING ANYTHING to remotely solve that problem!

        Oh this I know, I just have these occasional unexplained bursts of optimism for the human race. Usually I am as jaded as they come

    First Abbot's NBN plans, and now this (I know it's American, but still!) Are they still taking applications to go to Mars?

    Aren't these violent video games rated so children shouldn't be playing them?

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