A leaked document recently revealed that Walmart had ordered employees to remove any and all displays and signage depicting violence, including for video games and movies. However, a Twitter post confused the issue further, insinuating that Walmart could be escalating its efforts against violent video games by removing them from store shelves. The Twitter user posted a photo from their local Walmart showing that all games perceived as depicting violence had been removed. Walmart has since confirmed that no policy exists to remove video games from store shelves.
Twitter user TylerMayCry posted the picture showing that his local Walmart store had removed any game that was perceived as featuring violence. Both the Nintendo and Xbox game displays had been nearly cleared out. The games remaining included titles like FIFA 19, Just Dance 2019, NBA 2K19, and Mario Kart 8. TylerMayCry stated that the games were no longer being sold, "temporarily." He also noted that Walmart had made no changes to its gun sales and that they were being sold "right behind the games" still.
Given that TylerMayCry provided just a single picture and nothing further, the claim that Walmart would stop selling violent video games was met with skepticism. IGN then reached out to Walmart, who in confusion mistakenly said this was actually a new policy. The retailer has since taken back that statement and clarified that violent video games will still be sold at stores. Its intended statement was directed at the policy removing violent video game signs and displays.
While appearances can be deceiving, it seems that at least one Walmart store took the new policy more seriously than others. The leaked document clearly states that employees should remove all signage depicting violence and that if they are unsure, they should lean towards removal until further notice. It's easy to imagine an employee wondering whether video games being on display counted under Walmart's new policy and then removed them to be safe. Alternatively, the photo could be removed from context and the Twitter user may be incorrect about the situation.
Mine is not even selling the games anymore (temporarily) and I'm seriously upset. Like where am I supposed to buy a physical copy now? The nearest GameStop is way too far away from me. pic.twitter.com/PRGSgMpEPL— Erik Tyler Louden (@TylerMayCry) August 9, 2019
Walmart's inexplicable decisions and new policy, as well as the confusion surrounding them, should make it understandable why the #BoycottWalmart hashtag is currently trending in the United States. Walmart appears to be siding with political rhetoric from President Trump and certain Republicans over scientific research showing no link between violent video games violence. It would be one thing if Walmart was scouring its storefronts of all associations with violence, but that's clearly not the case so long as guns remain available for purchase at near 5,000 Walmart locations across the United States.