XBox: The Official Magazine - - OXM INVESTIGAT­ES -

While videogames bring an over­whelm­ing amount of good­will, it would be ridicu­lous to pre­tend that it’s all sweet­ness and light. There are still is­sues which the in­dus­try would do well to ad­dress, rather than ig­nore.

The one which the tabloids and their ilk al­ways jump on is, of course, vi­o­lence. Over the years, some re­search has pe­ri­od­i­cally sur­faced pur­port­ing to show that vi­o­lent games breed ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour, but on closer scru­tiny, much of that ‘in­for­ma­tion’ emerged from du­bi­ous ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ments sit­u­ated in the US bi­ble belt, with a cen­so­ri­ous agenda.

Pro­fes­sor Mark Grif­fiths points out the prob­lem with re­search into vi­o­lent games: “I don’t be­lieve that sci­en­tif­i­cally, em­pir­i­cally that it has been ab­so­lutely shown that play­ing vi­o­lent videogames makes peo­ple more ag­gres­sive,” he says. “We just can’t eth­i­cally al­low eight-year-olds to play GrandTheft­Auto, then study them in the lab to see what hap­pens. It’s not our fault that we can’t do the ex­per­i­ments we’d like to do, but I don’t think the sci­ence is there to do it.”

Grif­fiths, as one of the world’s lead­ing ex­perts on ad­dic­tion, does have mis­giv­ings about loot boxes, though: “I per­son­ally think, at the very least, it’s gam­bling-like. It’s still so­cially and be­haviourall­y con­di­tion­ing your chil­dren about the con­cepts of gam­bling, even if they don’t re­alise it’s gam­bling that they are do­ing. Per­son­ally, I think chil­dren and adults should be told what the prob­a­bil­ity of win­ning is. If you want some­thing in terms of ex­tend­ing your game­play or im­prov­ing your game­play, you should know what the odds are when you open that loot box.”

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