We all like to remind the video game haters that violence isn't always the focus of a game.
At the same time, are we being a tad hypocritical if the best-selling video games of the past decade are all immensely violent? Not all well-selling titles are violent, of course, but it's pretty obvious when you look at the top of the heap.
Call of Duty is the biggest name in the industry today and has been for the past six or seven years. The entire purpose of the game is to shoot other people; the multiplayer, which is one of the most popular online multiplayer draws in the country, is about killing as many people as possible. And the latest game to break records set by CoD is Grand Theft Auto V , and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more violent game. The bottom line is that the two biggest franchises in the industry today are also two of the most violent, unless you count World of Warcraft .
Assassin's Creed is another huge-selling series but as for violence, well…it's right there in the title. It's a good deal more intelligent and complex than either CoD or GTA but then again, it can only sell about 1/3 as many copies all told. Sure, critics really can dictate sales to some extent, which is why amazing and progressive titles like Heavy Rain and Journey have sold well, but neither is even in the same universe as CoD, GTA, or AC in terms of sales. Yes, I know the two examples I gave are PS3 exclusives so they don't have the same size audience but really, it wouldn't matter much. Double the sales of Journey or Heavy Rain and you're still nowhere near those other IPs. I mean, it's not even remotely close.
Battlefield is super big…more shooting people. Lots more shooters are on the horizon, of course. Action games are getting flashier, more dynamic, more visceral, and almost by default, more glaringly violent. With better realism comes more believable and more horrific violence. So, while we always leap to defend the industry because we know a great many fantastic titles exist that aren't about violence, the results seem to be clear: Violence sells. But wait, maybe that isn't a fact that only applies to video games…hmm…might be on to something there…