Tuesday, December 06, 2011

An endless loop of repetition

Another research meta study was published today, about games and violence. This time it was the Swedish media council that published the study of all articles written on video games and violence 2000 - 2011. They conclusion was, as usual: No, there is no proof of a causal connection between games and violence.

A lot of the research is quite flawed, as it uses dubious methodologies and measures violence by standards that are unconnected to the context. Also, most of them ignore other possible connections. Those who do look at anything except games as causes of violence, find that among the strongest causal connections to violence are family background and psychic health.

There is a slight connection between games and violence in the sense that people with a previous interest in violence tend to pick violent games. The causality is however the opposite of the traditional view: an interest in violence leads to violent games, not the other way around.

It is quite amazing that 10 years of research deliberately aimed at proving that games create violence so far has not been able to create any good, solid evidence. Perhaps it's time to start trusting the research and settle for the fact that games do not create insane killers. Once we have that settled, let's get down to creating good, interesting, engaging games that can enhance creativity in other ways. Imagine if some of those research budgets had been devoted to studying games as an arena for promoting fair play and moral choices? Now, wouldn't that be a novel idea for all those organisations that worry about our children...

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