Violent video games have been the subject of scientific study for nearly as long as gaming systems have existed out of concerns regarding their impact on players. One new study takes a look at violent video games and the potential for gamers who play them to exhibit increased levels of violence, and declares violent games had no significant impact on players.
The University of York released their findings of two experiments encompassing nearly 3,000 participants, which is significantly more than most video game studies. With a large base of participants to test, the University of York performed two experiments which concluded that realistic violence in games didn't increase aggressive concepts in players.
Specifically, researchers tested whether fighting against realistically-behaving NPC soldiers had an increased impact on players responding violently. The other half of the study tested whether realistic visuals with ragdoll physics or less-realistic, animated violence made a significant difference. The researchers asked participants to play the games and then to solve word association puzzles. Researches studied the results and found there was no significant increase in violent responses among those who played ultra-realistic violent games, and gamers who fought NPCs displaying realistic violent behavior actually experienced a slight decrease in aggressive concepts versus those who fought the less-realistically behaving NPCs.
It's worth noting that these experiments used a custom-made FPS game to expose their participants to violence, in which the goal was to kill as many enemy combatants as possible. In addition, the study polled its participants and found that the majority claimed to play games at least once per week. While it's unclear if these gamers primarily played violent games or casual titles, it's notable that the study sought actual gamers to test their responses.
The dispute over whether violent video games are bad for players has raged on for decades. Most gamers have disputed the claims, and studies have produced varying answers. Regardless, many have still argued that playing violent games can't be good for people.
More studies are bound to be produced in the future, and some may disagree with the University of York's current findings. In any case, with Sony and Microsoft both producing 4K HD graphic consoles and VR gaming experiencing increasing popularity, it's clear that realism in violent games doesn't have a negative impact on their popularity.
Source: Science Direct