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Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Co-Sponsored Violent Game Research

Oklahoma Senator Tom CoburnYesterday, we alerted everyone to the ECA’s effort to defeat a bill that would approve funding for research into the effect of violent games on those playing them. The ECA cited numerous studies already performed that debunk that theory and exposed a strong potential bias in the bill’s author Senator Rockefeller.

However, new information has popped up that adds a strong incentive for game developers in Oklahoma to fight this bill. It has come to our attention that Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has signed on as a cosponsor of the bill, S. 134 Violent Content Research Act of 2013.

Why is this important? For one, Senator Coburn is one of Oklahoma’s two US senators. However, there is a more important point that many may have missed. Senator Coburn has for many years railed against wasteful government spending. Since 2010, Senator Coburn has released what he calls his annual “Wastebook” in which he highlights 100 specific areas of Federal Government Spending that could be cut and how much money could be saved. (see Wastebook 2010, Wastebook 2011, Wastebook 2012)

Regardless of your feelings on the specific cuts he proposes, there are two key areas of interest in these reports that calls into question Sen. Coburn’s agenda. In each of these reports, Sen. Coburn lists government funding for often weird or obscure research projects, such as a study to determine if people can successfully guess the sexual orientation of a person just by looking at a photo, a study that determined that golfers need to envision a bigger hole, or a study into why and how people play World of Warcraft. Additionally, he cites funding grants to make video games such as one to make a game about high school prom. Another area of waste he listed was government funding to preserve video games.

With all these areas in which Sen. Coburn himself has said the government spends too much money funding research that really doesn’t need to be done or paying for video game projects best left to the private sector, why is he supporting a government led study into the effects of violent games when many studies have already been performed and have shown no causal link between playing violent games and violent actions?

As game developers in Oklahoma, we need to reach out to Senator Coburn and ask him to pull his support of this bill if he truly wants to hold to his ideal of ending wasteful government spending. We know that there is no such causal link between violent game play and violent behavior.

I propose that Oklahoma Game Developers, and any other interested members of the Oklahoma games industry, band together to submit a signed letter to Senator Coburn and the other sponsors of this bill as well as Senator Inhofe asking them to pull their support for this legislation. I will be sending all developers in the state that I know of an email requesting their support along with proposed language for the letter. Once all signatures and wording is in place, I will send the letter both via email and via US Post to Senator Coburn, the other Sponsors of the bill and Senator Inhofe. We will also be sending a copy to the media. If you would like to get in touch with me in advance with your support, please email me at zachary (at) okgamedev (dot) com.

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