Thanks, Captain Obvious: Video Game Sales Aren’t Correlated With Gun Violence, Study Finds

Entertainment Editor
12.19.12 6 Comments

Exception: cats who game are still plotting against you.

If you hadn’t heard, media outlets including CNN and Buzzfeed briefly blamed the wrong guy for the Newtown shooting, which led people to that guy’s Facebook page. Since that (innocent) guy had “liked” the game Mass Effect, some jerks went to the official Mass Effect Facebook page and blamed them for the crime. Ugh. Scapegoating like this led us to write about steps we can take to prevent game-blaming. One of those steps is to familiarize ourselves with all of those “scientific” studies about violence and gaming. Now a simplistic study published in The Washington Post seeks to answer one more question: which video games did Hitler play as a kid is there any correlation between game sales and gun violence?

Max Fisher gathered data from the ten countries with the largest video game markets. He then compared per-capita spending on video games and per-capita murder rates where a gun was used as the murder weapon. Here’s one of his graphs:

(Click to enlarge.)

As you can see, countries with high spending on video games still had much lower gun-related murder rates than the United States. We’d like to see a version of the graph which breaks it down further into sales of “violent” games (however that’s determined), instead of all game sales. But the point stands. While Fox News, disbarred attorney Jack Thompson, and Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod are trying to pin real-life violence on the entertainment business, you can look at the graph above and reply, “It’s not the games, stupid.”

(Hat tip to Ars Technica and Kittencat.)

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