Counter-intuitive study about violence and video game popularity:
Does grisly violence like this make action games more fun? For years, I assumed the free market had answered that question with a resounding “yes.” If shoot-’em-up games were insanely gory, it was, I figured, because developers were simply giving their hardcore young-dude audience what it wanted. Violence sells because violence works: It’s crucial to creating a sense of dastardly fun. Right?
Maybe not. In fact, some recent and fascinating scientific work suggests precisely the opposite: In a paper in January’s Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a group of researchers found that violence might be the least compelling part of our favorite videogames. In fact, sometimes it gets in the way of the fun.