Arkadium Prez: Bad Timing for Release of Red Dead Murder Stats

Jessica Rovello, Co-Founder and President of the casual/social/advergame firm Arkadium, has authored an opinion piece on the Huffington Post that cross references a CNBC piece from earlier this week (in which game executives fretted over the Schwarzenegger v. EMA SCOTUS ruling) with new statistics just released from Rockstar’s hit Red Dead Redemption.

Writing that “Since a significant portion of the industry’s best selling triple A console titles are loaded with violence, it [a Supreme Court ruling for the California law] could mean a huge drop in profits for major game publishers,” Rovello noted that Rockstar had just released news that players had murdered over 132 million people in Red Dead Redemption over the first two weeks of its release.

The timing of the release of the stats gave Rovello pause. She wrote:

That equates to 109 kills per second. While these two issues aren’t the same, the timing is pretty uncanny. Knowing that the industry is facing government scrutiny for violence may not be the best time to issue a story that boasts the statistic "15,072,596 Human Executions — 15,000 times the number carried out in Southern States since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1975."

While the Arkadium President declined to wade into the waters of equating in-game violence with real world actions, she noted that “propagating violence through entertainment hasn’t been a problem until recently for the governor of California.”

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  1. 0
    olstar18 says:

    I feel a great disturbance in the force. As if millions of voices cried out in dismay at his ignorance and suddenly committed seppuku via rusty frisbee.

  2. 0
    Thad says:

    "I believe I did exactly that with my first statement."

    No, you didn’t.  You didn’t respond to what the article actually said at all.

    "Oh, wait, I forgot.  Only lefties are allowed freedom of speech."

    Dude, seriously?

    At no point did I say you don’t have the right to engage in schoolyard taunts.  I just pointed out that it’s colossally immature and frankly embarrassing.

  3. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I believe I did exactly that with my first statement.

    Oh, wait, I forgot.  Only lefties are allowed freedom of speech.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  4. 0
    Thad says:

    How do you figure?  Just because a story’s sensationalistic doesn’t mean it’s meritless.

    And really, most of the story’s presented pretty straightforwardly.  The headline’s exploitative, and she uses the word "murders" in paragraph 3, but other than that it’s a pretty straight read.

    (EDIT: Actually, on further investigation, it looks like "murders" is Rockstar’s word, not hers.  So pretty much it’s only the headline that’s sensationalistic.  And I wonder if she even wrote it — near as I can tell, all the headlines at Huffington Post are written by one guy who really loves the word "slams".)

    The overall point that Rockstar should maybe keep its mouth shut until this case blows over is a perfectly good one.

  5. 0
    Thad says:

    "Alcohol is legal because of the fact that fresh, clean water is a relatively new invention."

    Erm, no, alcohol is legal because prohibition was a spectacular failure.

    "Also, it’s users and producers don’t advocate violating the law in it’s use.  On the contrary, they discourage it, which is something that can not be said of ANYONE in support of marijuana."

    Now that’s just a provably, demonstrably false statement.

    I think marijuana use should be legal but should face the same restrictions as alcohol: there should be an age restriction, and it should be illegal to drive under the influence.

    See?  Right there?  Just disproved your statement.

    "Also, keep in mind that bars and taverns serving alcohol are where the Revolution started."

    Yeah, and George Washington was growing marijuana.

  6. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Alcohol is legal because of the fact that fresh, clean water is a relatively new invention.  Also, it’s users and producers don’t advocate violating the law in it’s use.  On the contrary, they discourage it, which is something that can not be said of ANYONE in support of marijuana.  Also, keep in mind that bars and taverns serving alcohol are where the Revolution started.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  7. 0
    Thad says:

    Agreed on the advertising issue.  The fact that people are killing virtual people in an entertainment product has no bearing on Amendment 1.

    I’m not sure what California’s marijuana bill has to do with anything.  If we’re talking about legalizing one innocuous form of entertainment while keeping another substance controlled, let’s talk about why alcohol is legal and marijuana isn’t.

  8. 0
    Roh02 says:

    but doesnt this show that the link between game violence and real world violence is wrong? after all if those are the stats in the game and they are linked shouldnt real world violence be much much greater than it is?.

  9. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    While that may be true, the wording she chose is pure sensationalism, which proves that it really has no bearing.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  10. 0
    Flamespeak says:

    While her spewing of numbers was totally unnecessary and just comes off as sprouting off statistcal figures to sound intellgent (which in fact makes me think otherwise of her) her closing point is something that bears a little weight to a legitimate concern. We are close to a major battle for video games as a medium and want to prove that video games are not just ‘murder simulators designed to teach children how to kill’ and Rockstar, being the magnificant folks that they are, release a report bragging about the number of people killed in a short amount of time with their newest game.  Not a good time, RS.

  11. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Rockstar should really know better in the first place, once I thought it was because they were a little bit silly, but now they are wording press releases deliberately to cause controversy, and some people are buying it hook, line and sinker.

    So yes, probably an over reaction, but Rockstar really do need to start doing a bit of growing up with their media department.

  12. 0
    Ashkihyena says:

    I was wondering how long it’d take before someone jumped on the Red Dead Redemption Murder Simulator bandwagon.

    Hate to tell you, but you’re not murdering anyone, the characters in the game are not alive the last time I checked for crying out loud.

  13. 0
    mogbert says:

    Wait, so all those times I saved the lady’s life from the guy about to kill her… I commited murder? What about self defense?

    I don’t think they can really equate stats in a game to stats in real life. Otherwise cougars would be the number one cause of deaths in Tex… (mauled by a cougar)

  14. 0
    black manta says:

    I doubt this little tidbit will even come up, though I wouldn’t put it past Yee or one of bill’s other supporters to mention it.  Still, I’d be very surprised if it did.  But even so, I seriously doubt it would figure into the court’s decision.  It’s essentially advertising.  Movies and TV shows have had equally senstional publicity stunts.

    Even SCOTUS would realize the consequences that would arise if this bill were constitutional; not the least of which would be the crazy quilt of state regulations that would spring up.  And while something like that may exist for guns, I doubt that SCOTUS would see video games as warranting the same kind of treatment.

    I think it’s more likely that SCOTUS will consider in their decision the issue that CA is contemplating legalizing marijuana, and the hypocrisy that on one hand they’ll be criminalizing a fairly innocuous form of entertainment while at the same time legalizing a controlled substance that the federal govenrment still considers illegal.

  15. 0
    Zerodash says:

    This is an indicator on why the games industry may well lose against the SCOTUS.   The entire industry is run like a fucking out-of-control frathouse.  I predict that half of the industry won’t even come out to lend support to the ESA when the hearing comes.

  16. 0
    Thad says:

    Oh for…

    I hate the damn Huffington Post, but for God’s sake, can’t you criticize it on the things that are actually wrong with it instead of resorting to homophobic schoolyard ad hominems?

  17. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Killing a character in a virtual world != murder.  As a matter of fact, according to any and all definitions of murder, it can’t, since murder requires killing a real, live person.

    But, what do you expect from a website ran by a bunch of pissed off lesbians who couldn’t hold on to real jobs?

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

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