Shares of leading US game publishers took a hit earlier this month after US President Donald Trump linked two mass shootings to video games.
Making a statement following separate incidents in El Paso and Ohio, the president said the US government “must stop or substantially reduce” access to “gruesome” video games.
Asked about Trump’s comments during an interview with CNBC, Zelnick said: “The truth is it’s disrespectful to the victims and the families to point the finger at entertainment.
“Entertainment is part of people’s daily joy and it’s consumed worldwide and it’s the same worldwide. Gun violence is uniquely American and that has to change, and that will only change if we address the real issues.”
If there was evidence to suggest games like Take-Two’s crown jewel, Grand Theft Auto, were causing real world gun violence, Zelnick said he wouldn’t be in the business. “In the same way that I wouldn’t choose to market substances that cause people to get sick,” he said.
In the wake of Trump’s comments, the Entertainment Software Association released a statement suggesting there’s no causal connection between video games and violence.
A joint statement from the International Game Developers Association and International Game Developers Association Foundation echoed those sentiments.