Tolerance of Video Game Violence Changed Over Time
Violence in video games is nothing new, but it has been changing along with the technology that drives the games. The tolerance of the virtual violence has also been changing, and according to researchers at the University of Missouri, Columbia the tolerance has actually increased with the realism of violence, instead of decreasing.
For their study, the researchers examined the issues of GamePro Magazine released in the 1990s, as it was the most popular video game magazine at the time. They found that in the beginning of the decade, the journalists showed a great deal of concern over the violence in the video games they covered. As the decade continued, and more powerful game systems were released, this concerned lessened, despite the increasing realism of the depicted violence.
The researchers suggest some reasons for this inverse relationship. One is that as gamers matured, so did their tolerance of the violence, and the journalists reflected this in their writings. Another is that the video game rating systems we use today enable a defense against criticisms of violence, as anyone can be informed of a game's content. Finally the researchers also point out that society has changed over the years, developing a greater interest in violence, with more R rated films and violent music being released.
Source: University of Missouri, Columbia