It is time to say goodbye to video game violence

Video Games in the last 20 years have been notorious for their graphic, violent and sexually explicit content, with the most controversial franchises, such as Grand Theft Auto, making a name for themselves because of their controversial content. But, in recent years, video games made purely for violence’ sake have become almost nonexistent in terms of both the amount of sales for the few that still exist, and the amount of developers willing to make them.

As long as the first person shooter game (FPS) exists, there will always be some form of violence in video games. This has not changed. In fact, the amount of FPS’ made in the past 10 years has increased exponentially along with the technology used to refine graphics and reduce motion sickness. However, what has changed in video games is the manner in which the violence is presented. In the most popular FPS’, blood and gore is hardly ever displayed, and if so, in very minimal amounts. The worst offenders incorporate such elements to make the game display some form of realism, but no longer mindlessly throw it in to make the player feel powerful or to try to spark controversy to increase the game’s sales.

So, why do developers no longer want to program video games classified in the violent genre? Well, the primary motivation is sales. When a game is oversaturated with violence, it is not uncommon for certain countries with stricter laws to sensor them or completely ban them. When you take the violence out of a game relegated to the violence genre, the game completely loses its initial appeal. Not only does it cost money to sensor them, requiring game designers to completely revamp core aspects of the game, but entire countries are unable to purchase a game. Talk about overkill.

On top of that, video games that are too violent eliminate a massive demographic of people, particularly children. Sixteen percent of gamers are under the age of 13. It does not sound like much on paper, but for major gaming companies, this can mean a loss of millions of players and dollars.

However, there are other factors to take into account when looking at the demographics. For instance, you must consider: how many teenagers will not be allowed to play such games? How many adults will find virtual murder, blood, and gore to be nauseating or distasteful? And will female players generally be opposed to the idea of picking up virtual prostitutes? When taking everything into account, graphic elements often alienate potential players.

Developers are doing a better job considering possible consequences when designing a game jam-packed full of violence, and they have done even better by recognizing feedback from real gamers. In recent years, we have seen games tone down the blood and guts in individual franchises and in the game pool as a whole. With games such as Overwatch, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Destiny 2 and Fortnite topping the charts with very minimal violence, it seems unlikely that the industry will be monopolized again by the Grand Theft Autos and Call of Duties of the world. However, this is only the start to restoring society’s views on gamers and video games in general. The main objective of developers should not be to completely eliminate all violence from video games, as some violence can add realism to a game, but to make sure that violence as a genre is not the main selling point in a video game.

 

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