IGDA’s Daniel Greenberg Lays Into Republican Leaders over WoW Research Comments

Video game developer and Chair of the International Game Developers Association’s Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee Daniel Greenberg offers a scathing rebuke to Republicans in Congress for criticizing World of Warcraft and tax payer dollars given to use the virtual world for research over at Salon today.

Greenberg specifically name checks House Majority Whip Eric Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner, though he notes that other Republicans followed suit in the dust up before Sequestration automatically kicked in earlier this month.

First he points out that their attacks were based on facts that were just plain wrong:

"The facts lay out a different version of reality than the ones tweeted by politicians. North Carolina State University scientists found that playing World of Warcraft can improve cognitive function in older people who were having mental difficulties. The study did not cost $1,200,000, but only $5,000, not a penny of which came from federal tax dollars (it was paid for by the University)."

It was after that $5,000 grant and the WoW study that researchers were given a grant to do further research using different games and platforms like puzzle game Boom Blox for the Nintendo Wii. The initial research did not "pay people" to play World of Warcraft as Republicans had claimed, says Greenberg.

He says that the reason Cantor and Boehner mentioned video games is because it is being lumped into the debate on gun violence and gun control by lawmakers looking for something to blame for school shootings in America.

More importantly, Greenberg points out that vilifying a popular brand and scientific research is pretty silly because most American households have gamers in them. He closes his editorial with this paragraph:

"It’s time for politicians to stop the gratuitous attacks on video games (a retraction and clarification of the falsehoods would be nice, too). No one should make video games or science funding into a partisan issue. Remember, there are millions of video game players in the U.S. and we vote. We can easily determine who supports game research and who scapegoats video games. Because, you know, our cognitive functions are very strong. From playing all those video games."

It should also be pointed out that, while Republican leaders have attacked research funded by tax payer dollars related to video games, there are plenty of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that have done their best to vilify video games and other media as the cause of various acts of real-world violence.

You can read the whole thing here.


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