Activision Blizzard has hired a prominent Washington D.C.-based lobbying firm to take aim at legislation to research video games. The company has retained the services of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which the Washington Post describes as "one of K Street’s largest lobby shops." The Activision Blizzard account will be handled by Washington-based partner Arshi Siddiqui and Austin-based senior policy adviser Ryan Thompson, according to lobbying records filed last month.
The firm will talk to lawmakers about S.134: The Violent Content Research Act of 2013, which was introduced in January by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va). The bill calls for the National Academy of Sciences to examine whether there is a link between exposure to violent video games like the ones Activision Blizzard makes (World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and Call of Duty) and aggressive behavior in children.
The bill seeks to determine if video games "have a unique impact on children, considering in particular video games’ interactive nature and the extraordinarily personal and vivid way violence might be portrayed in such video games." The bill has already been approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (chaired by Sen. Rockefeller), who sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration on July 30, but it has not yet been taken up for a vote.