There has been a long-standing debate over the possible link of violent tendencies to individuals who play video games. According to the Dana Foundation, “The main reason to worry about video games is a slew of studies claiming to find a link between violence in video games and real-world aggression, but countervailing studies have found no persuasive link. The main reason to be skeptical of a causal link is that video games have spread widely around the world without driving other countries to the levels of violence in this country.”
The claim that video games that display any kind of violence have a direct link to violence in children or even adults is an idea built from a few studies. Newzoo Senior Market Analyst Tom Wijman estimates that the gaming industry will generate $159.3 billion in revenue in 2020. The reason the gaming industry is so successful is not that it promotes violence, but that it promotes healthy lifestyles, increases social activity, and improves decision-making.
In particular, role-playing games (RPG) are one of the most common forms in the industry, including award-winning titles such as The Witcher, Elder Scrolls, World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed and Spiderman. All of these games are based on creating a hero role for the player to immerse themselves into. In this hero role, the player is faced with hard decisions and crucial character development that eventually leads to the desired ending.
Not only does it promote healthy lifestyles, but the social interaction factor of video games is crucial for people, especially during COVID-19. With events remote and distanced, virtual social interaction is the only option. In our increasingly virtual reality, video games are a wonderful and engaging distraction from everyday life and the troubles that come with it. The joy of video games is rooted in a sense of satisfaction from systematically accomplishing goals.
The idea that video games promote violence because they enable players to virtually shoot guns at enemies is something that has been around since 1997, a year after the first “violent video game,” a boxing game, was released. In response to studies and articles fixating on the violence in video games, many production companies and publishers have created a violence/gore filter in the majority of their games. These filters censor blood and extreme violence in games, so if the user wishes to not witness the violence they don’t have to. Additionally, violent video games are often rated M or Mature, which is a grade from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) that declares a game as inappropriate for anyone under the age of 17 to play or purchase. In effect, games with M ratings are going to have mature content that the production company did not intend for people under the age of 17 to play.
The stigma against the gaming community is something that needs to change, as it is deteriorating the positive effects games can have on individuals. Promoting a healthy lifestyle and social interaction is what helps keep people sane and happy.