Real Violence and Video Games

Wired Blogs: Games | Gaming, Real Violence Trends Tracked, Charted

It’s easy to claim that gaming violence has no correlation with real world violence, but those arguments are a bit hollow if you can’t provide data to corroborate; or even better, a fancy line graph.

The graph makes no direct claims towards a relationship between real world and gaming violence, though it’s interesting to see an inversely proportional trend of violent gaming releases and incidents of real crime.

For those doubting the graph’s figures, have a look at the data on which it was based: a relatively recent survey of national violent crime rates published by the U.S. Department of Justice.

We have to be very careful with how we state this information.

While it’s easy to jump to the conclusion, these facts can not prove that violent video games cause a REDUCTION of violent crimes. There are simply way to many factors at play to make this claim. This would be a separate set of studies to determine what the real factors are and even then may never be truly ‘solved’.

What this information does say is that claims of increases of violent crime over time are inherently false, regardless of what is being pointed to. We can safely state that violent video games have not increased violent crime at a national level for the reason that there isn’t an increase of violent crime to begin with.

Obviously there are more complexities in the situation to say that any one factor is the deciding factor. But isn’t that the problem? There are certain lawmakers point to violent video games as a reason seem to be interested in investing time and money on appearances that they are solving existing social problems. Obviously these resources would be better spent investing in long-term solutions, but these solutions are not easily communicated to a voter.

Here’s a title idea for anyone to take on. Interactive entertainment is a very strong and powerful media that can make the depth of a subject matter more accessible to an audience. As SimCity provides accessible depth of urban planning and zoning, perhaps a title exploring social and economics to better illustrate the complexities of violent crime and related social woes would help create a better informed society. If you do this, or even address a microcosm of this situation, people will want you to work for them and you can pretty much ask for any grants to do similar work. No need to wait for me to approve the idea, just go out, do it, and do it well!

Editor’s Note: Hosting the image locally as to not leach bandwidth.