Anyone worried that players are being corrupted by violent videogames can relax, because the latest study has found that aggressive titles may actually be helping to cut the number of violent crimes.
Patrick Kierkegaard, from the University of Essex, has produced a review entitled “Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?” It’s based on his analysis of existing studies – some dating as far back as the early 1980s - into possible links between videogame action and real-world violence.
Kierkegaard admitted that videogames are becoming visually more realistic, but claimed that he couldn’t find any hard link between videogame violence and physical aggression.
“Violent crime, particularly among the young, has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s" - even though the popularity and use of videogames has increased, he said. "With millions of sales of violent games, the world should be seeing an epidemic of violence," he added. In fact, in some regions of the world, violence levels have actually declined.
However, Kierkegaard added that some types of videogame can affect players who may be pre-disposed to their effects. The problem, we suppose, is working out which gamers fall into this category.
Kierkegaard’s report mimics another study into the affect of violent games on children, which was published earlier this month. The $1.5m (£770,000/€970,000) US government-funded survey found that rather than turning children into real-life murderers, games do no more than prompt the odd harmless playground scuffle.