The heads of the Entertainment Software Association and gaming ratings board were joined by top executives from Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Take-Two, Epic Games and GameStop, among others, during today's meeting with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss violence in video games, Polygon has learned.
The Vice President was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in the meetings, according to White House officials. Among those attending for the video game industry were ESA president Michael Gallagher, ESRB head Patricia Vance, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg, Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello and Zenimax Media CEO Robert Altman.
Prior to the meeting kick off, Biden made a few remarks to a pool of reporters. Trailed by members of the video game industry and researchers, Biden walked into the Cordell Hull room about 2:30 p.m., according to pool reports. Seated between Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello and ESA president Michael Gallagher, Biden said that the reason for the meetings was the recent shootings, adding that he has "not seen anything that has shocked the conscience of the American people" like the shooting in Newtown.
Biden made it a point to say that the range of meetings he had this week should prove that the video game industry was "not singled out for help."
"I come to this meeting with no judgement," he said. "You all know the judgement other people have made."
The government, he added, is "looking for help."
"We're anxious to see if there is anything you can suggest to us," he said. The country has a "problem beyond quote-unquote massacres.
"It's a real problem. It's serious."
Before wrapping up the open remarks to the press, Biden reiterated that he was hoping to get a proposal to President Obama by Tuesday. He said he knows there is no easy answer.
"We know there is no silver bullet" he said, and then added that "we know this is a complex problem."
The meeting is the latest in a series of meetings with groups representing a variety of sectors including mental health, teachers and movies and members of gun owners groups including the National Rifle Association.
Following their meeting with Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday, NRA officials said they were disappointed with "how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment."
Biden has been tasked by President Barack Obama to come up with concrete proposals for ways to address gun violence by the end of the month.
Several video game-related organizations have written letters to Biden offering to assist with his research into the topic, including the International Game Developers Association, the Entertainment Merchants Association and the Entertainment Consumers Association. Separately, a bill introduced in Congress last year calling for a study into the effects of violent video games and other content on children is planned to be reintroduced by the end of the month.
Today's afternoon meeting with representatives from the video game industry is part of the Adminstration's "effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown," according to the official White House description.
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