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Study: Violent Crime Decreases While Violent Game Sales Rise

Politicians have been accusing video games of increasing real-world violence ever since the Newtown shooting tragedy. They called for studies to prove the controversial theory.

Well, the first round of results won't help their cause. In a recent New York Times article (as summarized at Polygon), a new study has showed that as sales of violent video games have more than doubled, there has been a marked decrease in violent crime.

Conducted by a group of economists from the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), the methodology was as follows:

"Our study uses a quasi-experimental methodology to identify the short and medium run effects of violent game sales on violent crime using time variation in retail unit sales data of the top 50 selling video games and violent criminal offenses from the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) for each week of 2005 to 2008. We instrument for game sales with game characteristics, game quality and time on the market, and estimate that, while a one percent increase in violent games is associated with up to a 0.03% decrease in violent crime, non-violent games appear to have no effect on crime rates."

In the end, the study found that between 1994 and 2010, the number of violent crimes among youth offenders fell by more than half, while game sales have doubled since 1996. Sad Dr. Michael Ward:

"We found that higher rates of violent video game sales related to a decrease in crimes, and especially violent crimes."

We're standing by for the rebuttal from all those genius politicians who seem to know everything...or rather, absolutely nothing.

Tags: violent games, violent video games, violence debate

2/13/2013 10:04:06 PM John Shepard

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Comments (13 posts)

Nas Is Like
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:25:40 PM
Reply

I honestly thought this was common knowledge.

If I'm playing games at home, how can I be out in society causing harm? No one can be in 2 places (physically) at once.

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Highlander
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:32:33 PM
Reply

People playing games keep their minds and fingers busy on something besides playing with guns...

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Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:36:29 PM

I've played violent videogames since I was a kid. Not once did it ever occur to me to pick up a gun and shoot another human being.

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Snaaaake
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 4:38:26 AM

We'd be too lazy to actually beat up people so we just do it in a game.

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dumbnut
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 1:59:30 AM
Reply

Wow! Some good news from a study. That would be nice if this study got some major media attention, but even if it does, I agree with John, I think they will probably try to spin it, of course.

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Snaaaake
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 4:20:42 AM
Reply

That study is flawed!!!
Video games are responsible for every crime there is in the history of the world!!!
Jack the ripper apparently played too much AC that he kills people thinking he's an assassin.
Al Capone was inspired by the Mafia series to become a mafia.
Hitler was a known Command and Conquer fan, he eventually decided to conquer the world because of it.
And last but not least, there is no such thing as car accident, every one of them were influenced by GTA and Burnout.

Ok jokes aside, I'd like to see how the idiots respond to this study.

Last edited by Snaaaake on 2/14/2013 4:21:44 AM

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Doppel
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 6:05:53 AM

But... But... How will they justify their taxpayer-paid salaries now?

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Simcoe
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 10:35:18 AM
Reply

A few things. This study is not a holy grail that absolves any possible link between video games and violent crimes (no single article or study can do that).

This group is looking at is from one perspective, they are economists so they will instinctively look at trends related to economic (ie. sales) factors.

This is a "working paper" (preliminary work) and is not (yet) a formal scientific paper. The authors are seeking comment and constructive criticism of their methodology and analyses from their peers so that their final paper submitted for publication will be able to stand-up to scientific scrutiny.

Their methodology is based on another study that looked at primarily the short to medium term effects of violent blockbuster films and the decrease in violent crime. That study basically concluded that for young male adults (18-29) going to the movie theatre to watch a violent blockbuster occupied their time so that they weren't engaging other riskier behaviour that in itself would lead to more violent activity (which usually involved alcohol consumption). In other words, while they were at the theatre, they weren't able to get into trouble or engage in activities (alcohol consumption) that would lead to them getting into trouble (violence).

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 5:05:43 PM

but it is well in line with other recognized studies.

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Simcoe
Friday, February 15, 2013 @ 9:17:38 AM

True, but it is just one very small piece in a much, much larger overreaching investigation (preventing mass murder).

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xenris
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 11:32:21 AM
Reply

You know in Africa violent crime is rampant. They must play a S@%! load of video games over there :
More seriously though, I hope that more studies like this start coming out, so we have more evidence other than the obvious evidence >.> that games do not increase instances of violent crime.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 5:06:07 PM
Reply

Truth hurts, games don't.

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PHOENIXZERO
Monday, February 18, 2013 @ 1:47:10 AM
Reply

Old news really... We were having these same arguments with Jack Thompson and pointing out this fact almost a decade ago!

Unfortunately politicians and "moral crusader" asshats don't let inconveniences like facts get in the way of their verbal diarrhea.

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