Too Far?HVAC Repairman
In a continuing series of blogposts about what he sees causing the downfall of EVE, Ripard Teg went into detail about how the murder and suicide committed by two D&D players nearly ended production of the game. Ripard has argued that CCP’s laissez-faire stance towards what’s going on in EVE could cause the media to blame CCP over a real life tragedy. While I agree that the media is quick to point fingers and blame video games for any tragedy, recent history has shown that media pressure hasn’t slowed down the gaming industry at all.
I was a sophomore in high school in 1999 when two teenagers walked into their school and opened fire. The resulting chaos ended with the murders of 13 people and injuries to another 21. The events of the Columbine High School Massacre was one of the worst tragedies in American history, and the debate of what triggered the attack lasted for years. Many things were blamed; lack of parental oversight, lax gun control laws, the goth culture, antidepressants, internet usage, music (primarily Marilyn Manson), movies (primarily Natural Born Killers) and video games. Doom and Wolfenstein 3D were the focus of the media witch hunt, with the entire FPS genre blamed for producing a culture of murder and violence. Despite the media fervor and several unsuccessful lawsuits, the FPS genre continued to flourish into the juggernaut it is today.
Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, is no stranger to online video gaming. He reportedly would spend up to sixteen hours a day playing World of Warcraft. Breivik also penned a manifesto explaining how he used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a “training simulator” to simulate combat operations. Again, the media partially tried to blame his actions on video games despite recent studies doubting the link between videogames and violence. Two years after the attack, Activision Blizzard is still thriving and its titles still generate a ridiculous amount of revenue.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School brought video games into the spotlight again. The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was reportedly addicted to a number of video games, including Starcraft 2, Call of Duty, and even Dance Dance Revolution. Despite a cocktail of emotional and personal problems, video games once again were partially blamed. All of those titles are still doing very well.
Call of Duty and other first-person shooters aren’t the only titles to be blamed; the Grand Theft Auto games are probably the most controversial titles of all-time. Numerous crimes have been committed that were allegedly inspired by events in the GTA games. Trials for murder, assault, and robberies have all used Grand Theft Auto as a defense. Countless lawsuits have been filed against Rockstar Games and yet they continue to deliver successful game after successful game.
So while Ripard is worried about bad publicity the game might receive if a deranged EVE Online player commits a crime, I’m not. Recent history has shown that the video game industry thrives, even with half-assed links reported by the media. If Ripard’s concern is the stigma of a suicide over an in-game event, Ripard shouldn’t worry. There have been several suicides over video games in the last few years, so why would it impact EVE when it hasn’t other publishers? Why do people need to make up justifications for their actions and not hold them responsible?
If an EVE player commits suicide or murders another person, would you honestly blame CCP, even if some in-game event happened to them? Even if such a tragedy were to take place and CCP became the centre of a media shitstorm, I doubt there would ever be a stigma associated with EVE Online. Because if those other titles don’t, I’m pretty sure EVE won’t.