Macron Apologizes to Gamers, Reverses Stance on Video Games Role in Riots


In a bid to mend bridges with the gaming community, French President Emmanuel Macron has offered an apology of sorts. This gesture comes several months after he controversially linked computer games to the series of riots that swept across France. He revealed his change of stance via an extensive post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Back in June, Macron publicly faulted video games for intoxicating the minds of youthful rioters, drawing backlash not only domestically but also from international figures in the gaming industry. Japanese game director Katsuhieo Harada was particularly vocal, tweeting, “blaming something is a great way to escape the burden of responsibility.”

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The French President began his recent post acknowledging his familiarity with the controversy his earlier statements had stirred among gamers. He then redirected his earlier position, expressing his admiration for video games and the gaming industry at large.

“Video games are an integral part of France,” Macron avowed. “My concerns in June stemmed from my perception that certain lawbreakers used video gaming habits to downplay the severity of violence on social networks. But it’s the violence, not the video games, that I condemn.”

The uproar that put France into a chaotic spin began after Nahel Merzouk, a 17-year-old French-born of north African descent, was fatally shot by the police in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. This incident stirred violent protests that rapidly spread from Nanterre and escalated into a national crisis, causing widespread havoc in cities, towns, and even villages.

During a government crisis discussion, Macron criticized social networks for their considerable role in fueling the unrest and inspiring further violence. Similarly, he criticized video games. “Among the younger rioters, there is a sense of escaping reality as if they are reenacting the video games that have intoxicated them,” Macron lamented at the time.

Yet, his recent post signals a complete shift in tone. “I’ve always viewed video games as an opportunity for France, for our young people and their future, for our jobs and our economy,” he acknowledged. He concluded his post on a positive note, echoing his belief in the industry’s capacity to inspire, evoke dreams, and foster growth.