French president backtracks on negative comments about gamers

Emmanual Macron has extended an olive branch to video gamers after linking them to riots earlier in the year.

France Macron Video Games
France Macron Video Games

French President Emmanuel Macron has backtracked on his negative stance about gamers, months after he accused video games and social media of fuelling copycat violence across France.

His original comments came in the wake of riots following the death of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, who was shot and killed by police in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre on June 27.

The two officers alleged the teenager’s had been driving dangerously with the traffic stop coming to a head when Mr Merzouk was killed from a single shot through his left arm and chest.

Emmanuel Macron, President of France
Emmanuel Macron, President of France (Carl Court/PA)

His death saw Nanterre erupt in protest, spreading nationwide mayhem in cities, towns and even villages across France.

The riots were shared and celebrated on social media networks, leading Mr Macron to accuse youths of playing “a considerable role” in the unrest.

He also blamed video games for fueling copycat violence.

But he has taken to X, formerly known as Twitter, to praise gamers.

Mr Macron posted: “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.”

He continued: “I have always considered that video games are an opportunity for France, for our youth and its future, for our jobs and our economy.

“The industry “inspires, makes people dream, makes them grow!”. You can count on me.”

On July 1, he said the video games provide “a sort of escape from reality” among the young.

“We sometimes have the feeling that some of them are living out, on the streets, the video games that have intoxicated them,” he said.

The French President’s remarks dismayed some in the gaming community, even beyond France.

Japanese game director Kastuhiro Harada was among Macron’s critics at the time.

Mr Harada shared a video of Mr Macron lambasting gamers with the comment: “Blaming something is a great way to escape the burden of responsibility.”

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