A US video game company has withdrawn a game that simulated a school shooting amid fierce criticism from parents of shooting victims and from politicians.
The game, ‘Active Shooter,’ was to be released by Valve Corp. of Bellevue, Washington, on June 6 on its digital distribution platform Steam.
But Valve said in a statement to several media outlets that it was cancelling the release of the game created by developer Revived Games and publisher ACID.
‘This developer and publisher is, in fact, a person calling himself Ata Berdiyev, who had previously been removed last fall,’ Valve said.
‘Ata is a troll, with a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation,’ Valve said.
‘We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve.
‘The broader conversation about Steam's content policies is one that we'll be addressing soon,’ the company added.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jaime, 14, was killed in the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, welcomed the removal of the game as ‘amazing news.’
Guttenberg and other parents of Stoneman Douglas victims had called on Twitter for the game to be withdrawn.
‘This company should face the wrath of everyone who cares about school and public safety and it should start immediately,’ Guttenberg said.
‘It's disgusting that Valve Corp. is trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country,’ said Ryan Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina died in Parkland.
‘Keeping our kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities and is in no way a 'game.'‘
A trailer for ‘Active Shooter’ opens with the player as a SWAT member entering a school to tackle a shooter, before switching to the perspective of the attacker.
It ends with a trail of students' bodies littering an auditorium as a stats box keeps count of the numbers of police and civilians killed.
An online petition by the activist group Change.org urging the game distributor not to launch the game drew nearly 200,000 signatures.
Parkland students launched a grassroots campaign for tighter gun control following the shooting at their school which left 14 students and three adults dead.
A disclaimer by the game developer, Revived Games, said the game ‘is meant solely for entertainment purposes and simulation.’
‘Revived Games believes violence and inappropriate actions belong in video games and not real world, and insists that in no event should anyone attempt to recreate or mimic any of the actions, events or situations occurring in the game,’ it said.
‘If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable).’
Ten people were killed in a school shooting in Texas on May 18 by a heavily armed 17-year-old classmate.
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