Regarding my previous concern about a public relations nightmare arising from the D.C. sniper killings (see previous posts here and here), while there has been little fallout against our industry so far, I’m still on the fence as to why that may be. It’s entirely possible that there is no evidence that the killers were fans of sniping simulations, which would mean that our industry’s insistence on ignoring all social concerns until cornered by Congress has been the right tack. On the other hand, the current silence may only be the calm before the courtroom storm, meaning our instinct to deny could be working against our own best interests. Because a comprehensive gag order was draped over this case shortly after the two suspects were apprehended, we don’t really know whether either of them were fans of violent entertainment of any kind.
It still seems to me that a savvy, cutting-edge industry would be proactive when threatened with scapegoating of this magnitude, but I’m going to let that go for the moment. For the sake of argument let’s say that no violent software turned up on any computers the suspects may have owned or used, and let’s say the suspects themselves aren’t claiming that GTA III made them do it. Aren’t we in the clear then, at least this time?
My answer is no, and here’s why. [ Read more ]