Competitive attitudes in video games leak into society


Franziska & Tom Werner

Video games themselves may not cause violent crimes, but the speech and attitudes of some players can be harmful. Getty Images' photo by Tom Werner

Grant Schmieding

Gun-violence, theft, mugging, organized crime, sexual assault, fighting.

Our society has all of these things, but video games are not the reason why. As discussed in a 2018 Forbes article, throughout history people have committed atrocious acts of violence all over the world, before video games even existed.

People in countries all over the world have access to violent video games. Yet crime and violence have not risen across the globe since video games have come into existence. In fact, according to Forbes, violent crime in the U.S. dropped to the lowest in decades following the release of Grand Theft Auto V, a particularly violent video game.

Grand Theft Auto V has sold 80 million copies worldwide and continues to sell today, according to Polygon. If even a small percentage of these people were being driven to commit violent crimes, we would see much higher rates of global violence than we are to today.

This is not to say that video games have no effect on us. Anyone who has played online video games will have heard the foul and unchecked hate speech that goes on in the chat rooms. In a TED talk, Ashley Judd focuses on misogynistic hate speech found in many online chat rooms.

That being said, it is important to realize that video games themselves are not the problem. It is our culture surrounding them that creates issues, according to a 2018 New York Times article.

After hours of violent video game consumption, we must ask ourselves what behavior actually transcends into the real world.

I have seen many of my friends lock themselves away for hours at a time playing Call of Duty, a video game about war. However, they have not felt the urge to commit random acts of violence as a result. I have, however, heard the competitive hate speech that goes on in the online chat rooms everywhere.

Violent video games are not going anywhere. It’s unfounded to say they create violent citizens in society. I do agree that the culture surrounding video games, in terms of promoting hateful speech and thinking, needs to change. But it would be a diffusion of responsibility to blame that on the games themselves.

Grant Schmieding can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @theorion_news.