French President Emmanuel Macron has responded to the criticism he received for blaming video games for the riots that spread across the country over the summer.
Macron released a statement Saturday on X/Twitter, explaining that he “made gamers jump” (or, startled them) when he said back in June that some rioters were, according to Kotaku, “living out, in the streets, the video games that have intoxicated them.” He said he only expressed those concerns “because video game codes had been used by offenders to trivialize violence on social networks” — specifically Snapchat and TikTok.
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
“It is this violence that I condemn, not video games,” he added.
To that end, Macron clarified his views on video games, most of which are positive. He started by deeming the medium as “an opportunity for France, for our youth and its future, for our jobs and our economy,” as well as a culture, a spectacle, and social spaces (Fortnite and Roblox are examples of such). Not only did he see them as an opportunity for France, but he also saw them as an “integral part of France” because of some games that were created in the country, including Assassin’s Creed by Ubisoft Bordeaux — Assassin’s Creed Mirage comes out Oct. 5, by the way — and Dofus by Ankama Studio.
“Video games offer opportunities for employment and the future, creating champions, but also engineers, developers, designers and creators,” he added. “The sector inspires, makes people dream, makes them grow!”
The riots that Macron scapegoated video games for earlier this summer erupted over the fatal killing of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, a French delivery driver of Moroccan and Algerian descent, by a police officer in Nanterre, a suburban neighborhood west of Paris. Videos of the violent protests circulated on social media showing protestors fighting the police and setting cars on fire — most of which were later taken down per Macron’s request.
Thumbnail credit: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Cristina Alexander is a freelance writer for IGN. To paraphrase Calvin Harris, she wears her love for Sonic the Hedgehog on her sleeve like a big deal. Follow her on Twitter @SonicPrincess15.