David Kotkin is one of the leading gunmakers in Miami. He was a high school teacher for 20 years and now he hires his former students to manufacture video game guns in his living room. To fulfill the pre-orders on his successful Kickstarter campaign, Kotkin has to deliver 3,000 toy guns by December.
Kotkin’s weapon, the Delta Six, is the newest generation of realistic-feeling and looking video game guns compatible with Xbox360, PC, PS3, Xbox 1 and soon, PS4. Kotkin's recent kickstarter campaign launched to fund the toy netted $200,000 — twice the amount he was asking for.
Despite Kotkin's success raising funds for his product, many companies have turned down his invention due to the controversial issues regarding violence in video games.
His wife, Melissa Kotkin, calls their family business an "uphill battle" due to controversy over video game violence and concerns that the Delta Six is too realistic for kids. “I don’t really feel like it’s appropriate for my 12 year old, and it’s really going to be up to parents to monitor that,” she says.
Mrs. Kotkin isn’t the only concerned parent. Angel Cartagena, founder of www.parentsagainstviolence.org, believes the gun controller itself isn’t a problem, but worries about how it's used.
"Supervision is the key," she says. "It’s a great piece of technology; it could be enjoyed, it could be used for target practice, for building skills like eye-hand coordination or reflexes, but they must be supervised.”
Kotkin claims studies show there's no link between video game violence and violence in real life. But Jay Hull, chair of Dartmouth College's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and founder of a recent study on the topic, assures that there is a link.
“There are a lot of lab studies which show that if you play these games you're more likely to subsequently act aggressive towards another person in the experiment,” Hull told Fusion.
Hull says that tools that enhance a users' ability to identify with a character in a video game can affect their values and behaviors in the real world.
Despite concerns about blurring the line between fantasy and reality, customers such as Curtis Gordon think having a realistic controller like the Delta Six will improve his gaming experience and even substitute for firing a real weapon at the gun range.
So how realistic is the Delta Six?
According to Adrian Manassa from Stone Hart’s Gun Range, the Delta Six can’t be compared to a real gun but if compared to other video game guns it is the most realistic he’s seen to date.
Credit: CJ Dominguez, Carlos Navarrete, Raul Garcia
Born and raised in Spain, Lara is a digital producer and writer for Fusion — covering stories in culture and technology as well as in-depth environmental issues across the globe.