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.