Emmanuel Macron walks back comments blaming video games for June riots

Emmanuel Macron rescinded his comments on video games being an aggravator in the protests seen in the summer that followed the shooting of a teenager by Parisian police.

Previously, Macron said that violent video games “disconnect [players] from reality” and protesters were “acting out the video games that have poisoned their minds”.

The French president also asked parents to be aware of their children’s whereabouts and that social media sites should censor “sensitive content” in posts about the riots.

In a post on X published on September 16, the head of state clarified his statements from July, countering that “video games are an integral part of France”.

Assassin's Creed was mentioned by Emmanuel Macron in his post
Assassin’s Creed. Credit: Ubisoft

“I have always considered that video games are an opportunity for France, for our youth and its future, for our jobs and our economy,” reads the machine translation.

“I expressed my concerns at the end of June because video game codes had been used by offenders to trivialise violence on social networks. It is this violence that I condemn, not video games.”

Macron then said that video games “mix all the arts” and offer opportunities for international tournaments that celebrate “true professionals” in esports.

“Video games are places of sharing, where creators are passers-by and players are storytellers. Places for sociability and meeting, with games with origins in the metaverse, like Fortnite or Roblox,” he continued.

Additionally, he championed “creations of French talent” such as Assassin’s Creed and the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Dofus.

France is home to a significant number of video game developers including Ubisoft and Ankama as well as Arkane, Asobo Studio, Dontnod Entertainment, Microids, Motion Twin, Nacon and Quantic Dream.

A Plague Tale: Requiem. Credit: Asobo Studio.
‘A Plague Tale: Requiem’ Credit: Asobo Studio

Macron reiterated that this would be a “new era” for the gaming industry in the country and that the France 2030 investments target the sector through “significantly strengthening around fifteen public and private schools which are already among the best in the world”.

In other gaming news, The Pokémon Company and The Van Gogh Museum are working together on a new exhibition starting this month.

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