The Truth About Video Games and Mass Killings

Shavaun Scott
8 min readDec 14, 2021

It’s more complicated than you think

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(excerpted from my book The Minds of Mass Killers: Understanding and Interrupting The Pathway to Violence (McFarland, 2021).

Mass killings have been blamed on violent video games since the Columbine murders in 1999. The idea is a simple one: ban violent video games and mass killings will stop. First-person shooter games in particular have been condemed.

Though there is sometimes a relationship between video gameplay and real-world violence, it’s clearly is not that simple.

Analyzing this research is complicated and has not been without controversy. Violent video games are universally popular, and gamers are understandably quick to become defensive at allegations their hobby could cause them to become real-world killers.

Gaming is far more significant than Hollywood as a cultural influencer and moneymaker these days. Forty-three percent of all U.S. adults play video games “often or sometimes.” Video game sales statistics show that electronic gaming industry revenue dwarfs all other entertainment industries combined. Global film box office revenue in 2018 amounted to $41.7 billion, while the gaming market generated $151.2 billion. Despite the stereotype that most gamers are adolescents, the average age of a gamer is now 35.



Shavaun Scott

Psychotherapist and writer, exploring uncommon bravery and shining light on the human experience.