Lawsuit Alleges Call of Duty Helped Cause Uvalde School Shooting

Enlarge / Is this an aspirational image for mass shooters?

Families of multiple victims of the 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde are suing Activision in California civil court, alleging that the company Obligations The games act as a “mass shooter training ground.”

The lawsuit (obtained by Polygon) compares that of Activision Obligations marketing to the tobacco industry’s now-banned cartoon spokesman Joe Camel, placing the gaming company “in the tremendously lucrative business of training teenagers to become gunfighters.” He Obligations The games “devour alienated teenagers and spit out shooters en masse,” the lawsuit alleges, and in Uvalde, the games “consciously exposed the shooter to the gun, conditioned him to see it as the solution to his problems, and trained him how to do it.” to use it.”

Metaplatformas is also a party to the lawsuit for “explicit and aggressive marketing” of firearms to minors through Instagram.

too real

While Obligations It may have started out as a simple video game, the lawsuit argues that more recent versions have crossed the line into a realistic “simulation” that “allows the operator to reproduce or represent under test conditions phenomena that are likely to occur in actual performance.” The game’s extreme realism desensitizes players to killing in familiar environments such as shopping malls, airports and restaurants, the lawsuit says, and exposes “middle school children with developing brains” to “morally complex situations with an assault weapon.”

By “manipulating players’ brain chemistry so that killing was associated with dopamine release, reward, and/or pleasure,” the lawsuit alleges that the games elicit a “real-life physical and neurological response” that is It is likely that some users will try to replicate it in the real world. “It is highly anticipated that the addictive and hyper-realistic content of Call of Duty products will lead some users, including minors, to attempt or achieve the real-life representation of what Call of Duty products so effectively simulate, including the use of firearms for mass murder,” the lawsuit alleges.

In 2015, the American Psychological Association said that “violent video game play is linked to increased aggression in gamers.” But in a 2020 update, the APA clarified that there was no statistical link between exposure to violent video games and the incidence of real-world violence, confirming previous meta-analyses on the topic.

In a statement provided to Polygon, an Activision spokesperson said that “the Uvalde shooting was horrendous and heartbreaking in every way, and we extend our deepest condolences to the families and communities who continue to be affected by this senseless act of violence. “Academic and scientific research continues to demonstrate that there is no causal link between video games and gun violence.”

Real virtual weapons

The lawsuit pays special attention to Activision’s long-standing licensing agreements with real-world weapons manufacturers, which bring additional realism to the games while promoting the weapons manufacturers’ products. Memos from gun manufacturers cited in the lawsuit show how the industry feels that “a primary means for potential young shooters to come into contact with firearms and ammunition is through virtual gaming scenarios.” And although the specific brands of those weapons are not highlighted in the game itself, the lawsuit presents significant evidence that gun buyers seek out the real versions of the weapons they use in the game. Obligations games.

“In service of… its bottom line, Activision created a firearms showroom for its millions of users, one where adults and teenagers alike could explore, test, covet and compare each weapon’s ability to kill,” the lawsuit alleges.

Algunas de las armas que aparecen en los juegos de <em>Call of Duty</em>.” src=”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/codweapons-640×486.png” width=”640″ height=”486″ srcset=”https://cdn. arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/codweapons.png 2x”/><figcaption class=
Enlarge / Some of the weapons that appear in Obligations games.

Daniel Defense, which manufactured the gun used in the Uvalde shooting, is not a defendant in the lawsuit. While the plaintiffs say the gun maker’s actions are “despicable, reckless and at times illegal,” they add that the company “cannot reach its target demographic, teenagers and young men, without substantial and critical assistance from the defendants.” “.

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