A hot potato: Politicians rarely have anything good to say about video games, and former US vice president Joe Biden is particularly unimpressed by the industry, calling developers he met at the White House “creeps” and “arrogant” who make games that teach people how to kill.
Biden, who is currently campaigning to become the Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential election, shared his opinions in an interview with the New York Times. When asked about Silicon Valley’s expansion of power during his time in the Obama administration, Biden said: “And you may recall, the criticism I got for meeting with the leaders in Silicon Valley, when I was trying to work out an agreement dealing with them protecting intellectual property for artists in the United States of America. And at one point, one of the little creeps sitting around that table, who was a multi- — close to a billionaire — who told me he was an artist because he was able to come up with games to teach you how to kill people.”
As for which game executive Biden was referring to as a creep, Kotaku has some theories about who the person might be, including EA’s then-CEO John Riccitiello.
“And then one of these righteous people said to me that, you know, 'We are the economic engine of America. We are the ones.' And fortunately I had done a little homework before I went and I said, you know, I find it fascinating,” Biden continued. “As I added up the seven outfits, everyone’s there but Microsoft. I said, you have fewer people on your payroll than all the losses that General Motors just faced in the last quarter, of employees. So don’t lecture me about how you’ve created all this employment.. The point is, there’s an arrogance about it, an overwhelming arrogance that we are, we are the ones. We can do what we want to do. I disagree.”
Biden has expressed his distaste for video games in the past. During 2013, while he was vice president, he proposed an additional tax on violent media, including violent games.
The White House famously used a video to illustrate violence in games back in 2018, which are often blamed following mass shootings. It led to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) saying that games should not be made a scapegoat for the gun violence problem.