‘Active Shooter’ Game Generates Strong Criticism, Steam Platform to Debut Title Next Week

Posted on: May 29, 2018, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: May 29, 2018, 11:45h.

“Active Shooter,” a forthcoming first-person shooter game that allows players on the Steam gaming platform to assume the roles of such murderers, is generating a strong response from critics who claim the simulation glorifies such horror.

Steam Valve Active Shooter game
Steam’s “Active Shooter” video game allows players to enter a school-like environment and kill as many people as possible. (Image: Steam/Casino.org)

The game is developed by a Russian company called Acid, and is set to release June 6 on Valve’s Steam online gaming site. The title is expected to cost between $5 and $10.

“Be the good guy or the bad guy. The choice is yours!” Acid says in its description. “Only in ‘Active Shooter’ you will be able to pick the role of an elite SWAT member or the actual shooter.”

The trailer for the game shows a gunman making his way through buildings that closely resemble schools. Ryan Petty, who lost his 14-year-old daughter in the February school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, called the game “despicable.”

“It’s disgusting that Valve Corp. is trying to profit from the glamorization of tragedies affecting our schools across the country,” Petty stated. “Keeping our kids safe is a real issue affecting our communities and is in no way a ‘game.'”

Acid responded by saying “‘Active Shooter’ is just a video game and nothing else. Players aren’t forced to play only as an active shooter. This is nothing but a video game.”

The game page on Steam adds a disclaimer that encourages those who wish to hurt others to seek help from “local psychiatrists or dial 911.”

Valve Controversy

Based in Bellevue, Washington, Valve being engaged in a public controversy isn’t anything new.

The gaming developer and distributor has been accused of allowing third-party sites to use its programming interface to facilitate illegal online and underage gambling related to skin betting.

Skins are in-game items, typically weapons, that have real-world value. Skins are now traded for money, or put up as wagers on third-party sites for the purposes of gambling.

Amid two legal challenges in 2016, Valve cracked down on third-party networks operating skins gambling markets. Despite the suppression, Eilers and Krejcik Gaming and Narus Advisors said roughly $5 billion worth of skins was still gambled in 2016.

Loot boxes, in-game packs that offer the player random chances to win skills or game assets like weapons, can be purchased during gameplay. Loot boxes have additionally been labeled by critics as gambling.

Juniper Research recently opined that consumers will spend $50 billion a year by 2022 on skins and loot boxes.

Just a Game?

“Active Shooter” is naturally stirring many emotions, as it hits close to home throughout the country.

According to CNN, there’s been 23 school shootings in the US this year (school shooting defined as at least one person being shot not including the shooter). That averages out to more than one school shooting a week.

Acid says there have been numerous video games that allow players to fire guns and perform illegal acts. Grand Theft Auto, one of the more successful game franchises in video game history, has made the most headlines and caused the most controversy.

“How is ‘Active Shooter’ any different?” Acid asks in a Steam message board post. “You cannot simply say OK to one and NOT OK to another.”

A Change.org petition to prevent “Active Shooter” from going live on Steam has garnered over 74,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning.