France’s Macron backpedals on video game criticism & vows to host more esports events


France President Emmanuel Macron has backtracked on his criticism of the impact of video games, stating that they are “an integral part” of the country.

In a June 30 press conference, Macron blamed social media for demonstrations in the country but also said that video games played a role in the violence and vandalism by “intoxicating” youngsters. His comments came as France was experiencing a wave of riots and protests following the death of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk.

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Macron’s remarks sparked outrage in the gaming community, with Tekken director Kastuhiro Harada among those who criticized the French President’s negative stance. “Blaming something is a great way to escape the burden of responsibility,” Harada wrote on X/Twitter at the time.

In a lengthy post on X/Twitter over the weekend, Macron sought to clarify his views on the impact of video games and had nothing but praise for the industry.

“Video games are an integral part of France,” he wrote. “I have always believed that video games are an opportunity for France, for our young people and their future, for our jobs and our economy.

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“I expressed my concerns at the end of June because delinquents had used video game habits to trivialize the violence on social networks. It is this violence that I condemn, not video games.”

Macron went on to describe video games as a “field for artistic experimentation” and a “fascinating learning space, blending all the arts.”

Macron backs esports again

The French President also spoke about esports and how the “competitive practice of videogames is a sport, an ecosystem, with true professionals, high-level gatherings, and international tournaments that make history and forge generations with powerful values.”

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“In June 2022, I brought together a large number of esports and industry stakeholders to the Élysée Palace,” he added. “My words were sincere. I promised a new era; it’s beginning.

“I remain fully mobilized to continue supporting the organization of major events in France, to act in support of the sector, and to help it grow.”

Paris hosted the BLAST Major earlier this year

In April 2022, Macron said that esports and gaming were an “important component of French soft cultural power” and promised that France would host large-scale events if he was re-elected that year. He won the presidential election in the second round with 58.5% of the votes.

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In May 2023, Paris hosted the last Major in CS:GO history. The announcement of the event was made by Macron himself on social media, a clear sign of the role he played in bringing the event to France.

Macron finished his post over the weekend by making a pledge to gamers.

“You can count on me.”

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