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]