The Trump administration said the President would meet members of the video game industry to talk about virtual violence shaping young people's minds, and yesterday he did.

Those present were shown an 88-second video of extreme violence taken from a selection of games. The infamous No Russian civilian airport massacre from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was in there; Dead by Daylight was in there; Sniper Elite 4 was in there; The Evil Within was in there; Fallout 4 was in there, and there was a couple of others I didn't recognise. All were clips pulled from various YouTuber channels, presented out of context one after another. The video was uploaded unlisted to The White House YouTube channel.

President Trump apparently commented on how violent the scenes he was seeing were, while the rest of the room was silent, one attendee told Kotaku (the meeting itself was closed to press). No specific games were apparently mentioned during the hour-long meeting.

Representing the video game industry were the heads of Take-Two (Strauss Zelnick), Bethesda/Zenimax (Robert Altman), the Entertainment Software Association (Michael Gallagher), and the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (Patricia Vance).

On the other side of the fence were a retired US Army lieutenant colonel who called games "murder simulators" in his book, plus a couple of people connected to the Parents Television Council which supported a law to criminalize the sale of violent video games to children.

The White House's statement said: "During today's meeting, the group spoke with the President about the effect that violent video games have on our youth, especially young males.

"The President acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence. The conversation centered on whether violent video games, including games that graphically simulate killing, desensitise our community to violence."

The ESA's statement about the meeting, however, said, "We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry's rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices. We appreciate the President's receptive and comprehensive approach to this discussion."

Apparently President Trump was "asking questions, genuinely interested in hearing from all sides and getting all perspectives", Parents Television Council programs director Melissa Henson told Kotaku.

As both Kotaku and The New Yorker pointed out there have been research efforts to link violent video games to shootings in the past - but none have.

What happens next - if anything - no one seems to know.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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