French President Emmanuel Macron has clarified his view on video games after previously blaming recent riots on the culture of video games.
Now, in a new statement on X, formerly Twitter, Macron said he startled gamers – or, he literally “made the gamers jump” – with his words and that really he “always considered that video games are an opportunity for France, for our youth and its future, for our jobs and our economy”.
He continued: “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.
“Video games are a culture, an entertainment, a spectacle!
“They are a ground for artistic experimentation, a fascinating learning space, mixing all the arts. Playing means listening to music, immersing yourself in stories, feeling emotions, travelling through time. It is exploring visual universes that write a new chapter in the history of art.”
Macron went on to praise the “competitive practice” of esports, the sociability and community of games, and noted video games are “an integral part of France” before naming Assassin’s Creed and Dofus as key examples.
“Video games offer opportunities for employment and the future, creating champions, but also engineers, developers, designers and creators. The sector inspires, makes people dream, makes them grow!” said Macron.
J’ai fait bondir les gamers.
J’ai pourtant toujours considéré que les jeux vidéo sont une chance pour la France, pour notre jeunesse et son avenir, pour nos emplois et notre économie.
Je veux être (plus) clair.…
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 16, 2023
A wave of riots swept across France over the summer, which were initiated by the fatal shooting of teenager Nahel M by a police officer near Paris in June. From there bubbling discontent rose to the surface and violence erupted.
Videos of riots were shared on social media, including protestors fighting the police, setting cars alight, and marching in the streets.
Macron called on social media platforms to remove such footage and blamed both the platforms and video games for “intoxicating” the country’s youth and fuelling the riots (via Kotaku).
The French President has now walked back those comments in this latest statement, promising to “accelerate the sector” through supporting talent and encouraging “greater diversity in creation”.