Update: Wal-Mart Begins Removing Violent Video Game Advertisements From Stores, But Not Video Games Themselves
Update: While Wal-Mart has confirmed that they are indeed removing violent video game advertisements, they are not pulling violent games from stores company-wide. While individual stores are removing violent video games, according to reports on Twitter, there has been no corporate edict for all stores to do the same. The original report about video game advertisements is true, but not the games themselves.
“We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and it does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment,” director of national media relations at Wal-Mart LeMia Jenkins told IGN.
Original story from August 8 at 6:25 p.m. CT:
The debate over violent video games and their contribution to violent behavior, such as recent shootings in El Paso, TX and Gilroy, CA, has sparked up again in the wake of those shootings. To fend off any such discussion of their role in selling violent video games, retailer Wal-Mart is reportedly quietly removing advertisements that might promote such games.
The report comes from Vice Games, which relays information from sources at the company, as well as images on Twitter and reddit. The instructions say they have been instructed to remove posters and playable demos of games that show violence, though the definition is not extremely clear.
“I went into work yesterday and they handed me a copy of the instructions to remove the violent signage and gaming displays,” an anonymous Walmart employee told Vice. “And I immediately threw it away because it’s obviously a way to shift the blame from the real problem regarding the mass shootings. I didn’t get to confirm this yesterday but they aren’t doing anything about the sales of guns and ammo in the store.”
The message from corporate asks employees to cancel any event surrounding violent video games, presumably like midnight launches.
For their part, the Entertainment Software Association has spoken against the idea that violent video games prompt violent behavior, much less mass shootings. President Donald Trump has been forceful in his condemnation of video games and insistent that they are linked to violent behavior, though has not cited which studies he believes back up this assertion.
It’s good that we’re now preventing the situation of someone seeing an advertisement for Resident Evil 2 and immediately walking over to the gun counter and purchasing a gun to engage in a mass killing. Thankfully they have definitively solved the issue by removing the poster board.