For the past few months, there’s been a lot of debate as to whether violent video games cause people to commit violent crimes. Today however, the New York Times has shared research statistics that yielded what would seem like surprising results to many people. According to the New York Times, between 1994 and 2010 the number of violent crimes between youth offenders decreased by more than half, to 224 crimes per population of 100,000. At the same time, video game sales have more than doubled since 1996.
In a working paper published online by Dr. Michael Ward and two colleagues, weekly sales of violent video games were observed across several different communities. Dr. Ward and his colleagues came to the conclusion that violence rates are seasonal, generally higher in the summer than in the winter. Video game sales are also seasonal, peaking during the holidays. The researchers controlled for those trends and analyzed crime rates in the month or so after major increases in sales, in communities with a high concentrations of young people, like in college towns.
According to Dr. Ward:
We found that higher rates of violent video game sales related to a decrease in crimes, and especially violent crimes.
Obviously, no one knows for sure what this means, or if the two trends are even related. Last month, in an interview with Fox News, Editor in Chief of Rev3Games and former host of G4TV's XPlay, Adam Sessler brought up the fact that many objective studies have claimed that video games can lead to a sense of aggression, but that doesn't mean it's a cause of violence. “Aggression does not make a one to one correlation with acting things out”, Sessler said on the matter.