It may be Turkey Day here in the United States, but the sister of a prominent German video game violence critic has termed Electronic Arts "that pig of a company" at a conference in Munich.
As reported by gamer.tm, Regina Pfeiffer made the remarks at the Computer Game and Violence conference late last week. Ms. Pfeiffer is the sister of Christian Pfeiffer, the head of Lower Saxony’s Criminological Research Institute (KFN). Regina Pfeiffer also works at KFN. According to the report, she was frustrated in her efforts to sue EA over a violent game (Dead Space?) because the publisher is not headquartered in Germany.
EA exec Martin Lorber fired back at Pfeiffer, saying:
Should Mrs. Regina Pfeiffer have actually lost her composure to the point of describing Electronic Arts as being a ‘a pig of a company’, then I can only recommend that she apologises in full – at least, [she should] if she wishes to be taken seriously again in the future…
The [conference] organisers had no interest in holding discussions with the people who manufacture the games that were being criticised there. Initially, I found this very regrettable, because I had told the conference that I would be willing to hold a question and answer session. But now that I see how low the level of discussion obviously was, I’m glad that I didn’t waste my time.
European GamePolitics reader Soldat Louis offers more insights into the controversial gathering:
There was a conference held in Munich about "computer games and violence", that reunited many researchers on the effects of violent games. Most were German, to the exception of [Iowa State’s] Douglas Gentile. I created a thread [in GP Forums] and tried to translate the first reports on this conference as best as I could…
One longitudinal study presented at the conference (and published in the Journal of Media Psychology) claimed that "violent games" are the #1 risk factor in violent criminality… Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann took advantage of this conference to call for a ban on "extremely violent video games". And fourth, because despite all that, there were voices of the reason, such as Douglas Gentile and, to some extent, [journalist] Rainer Fromm.
For Soldat Louis’ fascinating, full write-up, hit the jump…
Douglas Gentile was, by far, the most moderate of the panel. He called to get rid of the simplistic idea that "video games are either good or bad". And altough he criticized ESRB, he opposed to a ban of the most violent games, asking for more media literacy instead.
Werner Hopf, who presented a longitudinal study claiming that violent video games is the most important risk factor in violent criminality (see the abstract here), rejected this idea, claiming that it was a trick of video game industry. Not only did he call for a ban of "extremely violent computer games", but he also called for the suppression of USK (German rating systems) because according to him it’s too close to the industry. He asked for its replacement by a more independent rating organization.
USK was also criticized by researchers from the KFN, the Criminology Institute lead by Christian Pfeiffer, one of the most vocal German opponents against "killer games". Regine Pfeiffer, Christian’s sister, even attacked Electronic Arts violently, calling it a "pig company".
Finally, journalist Rainer Fromm reiterated his objections against saddistic and militaristic games (that included not only FPS, but also some WWII strategy games that, he thinks, are ambiguous on the role of German Army). But he also said that he considered video games per se as a great hobby, even telling that he plays them regularly as well as his children. He also reiterated his very positive opinion of eSports.
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann was happy about the success of this conference, and it confirmed him in his view that some violent games such as GTA 4 or The Godfather : Don Edition must be banned…