The White House says Trump will meet with video game execs next week — but the games industry says it never got an invitation

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

  • President Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, announced on Thursday that video game executives are coming to the White House to meet with the president next week.
  • The Entertainment Software Association, which represents the video game industry, says it and its member companies haven’t received any invitation to such a meeting.
  • The White House announcement was made in response to a question about the president’s ability to get gun control legislation passed.
  • At the heart of this news is President Trump’s apparent belief that playing violent video games can lead to violent behavior.

President Trump will meet with video game executives next week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a press briefing on Thursday.

A statement provided to Business Insider by the Entertainment Software Association, the trade association that represents the video game industry, said that no video game company had recieved an invitation to any such White House meeting.

“ESA and our member companies have not received an invitation to meet with President Trump.” says the statement. The ESA represents Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and every other major video game publisher.

The meeting in question would be part of the White House response to the attack on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman killed 17 students and staff members with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle. In the wake of the shooting, a national debate over gun control has re-emerged.

President Trump met with senators from both parties on Wednesday to discuss legislative measures on gun control. Trump emerged as something of a moderate – he urged raising the legal age of gun purchases from 18 to 21, supported limitations on military-style weapons, and declared intentions to sign an executive order banning “bump stocks.”

But Trump has also said “the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.” In so many words, Trump seems to believe that playing violent video games is tied to real-life violence.

Sanders offered the news of the upcoming meeting between video game executives and Trump in response to a question regarding the president’s effort to pass gun control legislation. The meeting will be held at the White House.

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“Doom” was one of the first game franchises to spark debate over its level of violence.
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Bethesda Softworks

“This is going to be an ongoing process,” Sanders said at the press conference, “And something we don’t expect to happen overnight. It’s something that we’re going to continue to be engaged in, and something that we’re going to look into the best ways possible to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect schools across the country.”