Analyst Says Sandy Hook Won't Affect Violent Game Sales

Analyst Says Sandy Hook Won't Affect Violent Game Sales

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Political and media backlash will affect consumer behavior in only a minor way.

In the wake of the horrific Sandy Hook shootings, there are a few things you can expect to hear about for the next few weeks: gun control, school safety, and violent media. While videogames have proven a predictably popular target for criticism, one person in the know isn't too concerned about their short-term sales. An analyst for Cowen and Company investment services believes that politicians and media naysayers have little sway over consumer habits, and both game companies and investors can rest easy for the time being.

According to analyst Doug Creutz, videogames have nothing to fear from the government. "We believe that any new attempts to regulate video game sales would be quickly struck down by the courts based on [the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association case]," he says, citing the supreme court case that protected games with First Amendment rights. Game sales will also not likely suffer as a result of media or political backlash. Creutz reminds investors that most people possess "entrenched opinions" when it comes to videogame violence. A scathing editorial or political jeremiad will not do much to convince an adult who has already made up his or her mind about the relative risk of videogames, and there are not enough undecided consumers to make a dent either way, Creutz reasons.

Even if a number of consumers decide to forego violent videogames for the near future, Creutz believes that most game companies have enough flexibility in their share prices to weather the hit. "While these concerns are understandable - particularly given the currently emotionally charged environment - we think video game shares are now pricing in much more risk to their business models than actually exists." He also expresses optimism for 2013, given a number of high-profile titles releasing in the first half with possible console entries from Sony and Microsoft in the second.

Finally, Creutz points out that Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II have not seen their sales impacted in any way by the events at Sandy Hook, suggesting that the average consumer does not seem them as quite as much of a threat as some politicians do. In short, expect violent games to sell well during the holidays, but be ready for a lot of hand-wringing afterwards.

Source: GameSpot

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In these tragic times, it's good to see that the video game community will not be swayed by the selfish actions of a madman. In this community of gamers, we do not jump on bandwagons, and we do not believe the lies of the terrified or the uninformed. We've played these games, and we know that they will never make us commit such horrible acts of violence, and someday, the rest of the world will believe us. Just remember, I guess, that violent video games are not for everyone (as the ESRB is so kind to point out).

His body looks more ready than Reggae's, that is an astounding achievement!

I never thought the tragedy would affect game sales, people need to put blame on something, but violent video games are the easiest target. I play violent video games and that isn't why I kill people...

...disregard that last sentence!

This guy speaks a lot of sense, it is just unfortunate that the ones who have it in for games also have entrenched opinions on them. Thankfully the number of people who support games keeps on growing if sales are anything to go by.

Of course a lot of the backlash is down to a emotional response rather than a reasoned one in the wake of a great tragedy. Some people just need a easy boogie man to lash out at as they're are not ready yet to look at the more complex truth of the matter.

The court(Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association) opinion was very clear on the point that it didn't matter what the studies say, that video games are entitled to the same rights as other media. No lower court is going to over turn that opinion and single out video games. They may try to lump all violent media together and try to get a law passes, but then you'll have the wrath of all media and one extremely hard uphill battle to fight in court.

Alternate theory that reaches the same conclusion: Despite the tragedy that occurred, most of us are totally unaffected. Statistically, unless there's a very weird skew in Escapist readership, well over 99% of the people reading this post did not personally know anybody who lost a family member to the shooting. Sure, the news would like us to believe it's intensely personal to all of us, but it's not. And so our lives will continue largely unaffected, as they usually do.

I might expect to see a short term effect on "violent" video game sales. But, history shows that any negative effects will be short-lived.

Surprise, surprise... People who are already consumers of video games probably aren't going to have their opinions swayed by a tragic school shooting.

This is my first time weighing in on this event, but it seems to me that very few people are going to have their minds changed at all. Even less so who actually have a say in the US political system.

nothing is going to happen to video games in the usa because something else will come along next week to distract people in the news

rees263:
Surprise, surprise... People who are already consumers of video games probably aren't going to have their opinions swayed by a tragic school shooting.

This is my first time weighing in on this event, but it seems to me that very few people are going to have their minds changed at all. Even less so who actually have a say in the US political system.

Perhaps I'm misinterpreting your tone, but it sounds like you think we should have our opinion changed by this event.

Not all of the shooters were gamers, or rather it can't be proven.

All of them were on controversial SSRI's though, including psychotropics that have been pulled from distribution, but let's not talk about that.

Sylveria:

rees263:
Surprise, surprise... People who are already consumers of video games probably aren't going to have their opinions swayed by a tragic school shooting.

This is my first time weighing in on this event, but it seems to me that very few people are going to have their minds changed at all. Even less so who actually have a say in the US political system.

Perhaps I'm misinterpreting your tone, but it sounds like you think we should have our opinion changed by this event.

To be honest reading that back I'm not sure I worded it very well.

I was mainly commenting on this

Creutz reminds investors that most people possess "entrenched opinions" when it comes to videogame violence. A scathing editorial or political jeremiad will not do much to convince an adult who has already made up his or her mind about the relative risk of videogames

I didn't mean to say people should feel one way or another, although I do wish people (in general, not just in relation to this) would be a little more open minded.

Good news for video games then, but I'm more concerned with the lives lost and the fact that this will keep happening. No, gun control wouldn't halt shootings altogether but it would certainly help lots.

And, unfortunately, this is what I think the headline should really say...

Analyst Says Sandy Hook Won't Affect Much Of Anything At All

A bit of outrage, a couple of lives destroyed, then back to business as usual.

Johnny Novgorod:
Good news for video games then, but I'm more concerned with the lives lost and the fact that this will keep happening. No, gun control wouldn't halt shootings altogether but it would certainly help lots.

In all honesty, I heavily doubt that. For one, most gun crimes are done with illegally acquired guns. Going through legal channels is both more costly and is very traceable, thus no one in their right mind who's intent on doing illegal activity will go through that - and someone who's already getting weapons illegally won't care if they're made more illegal. Two, people content on killing someone are already willing to break the law and risk life in prison or the death penalty, so making it more illegal won't make a difference in their minds - especially since most massacres end in suicide anyways. Don't have anything to lose if you intend on dying. Last but certainly not least, this will create a black market for banned weapons. Just look at 1930's Prohibition and the current Drug Wars for proof of how that's turned out. Gangs make massive profits off of selling illegal goods, as they kill off their opposition and work to establish a monopoly. Those who are determined to kill will be doing whatever it takes to get a hold of weapons, and when the only source is the black market then they will just go to them. Gangs will just profit and gun crimes will continue.

I'm anti-war and anti-killing, but I just don't see any good coming from gun bans.

Why the fuck is this about games now? Seriously, how is this even a thing?
It's quite frankly sickening and disrespectful to abuse tragedies like this to fuel this "discussion".
Why does this keep happening?

And thanks for the "analysis" there.
2 completely unrelated things will have no effect on each other.
Yeah, good job there captain obvious.

Well, while the analyst is right that the supreme court has ruled on game content, there is one thing he is forgetting: that the federal government can impose restictions onto media that is protected under the first amendment, i.e. like pornography.

While I doubt this would effect digital platforms like Steam, it could be a blow to in-store retail, where they would have to keep the games out-of-sight in some way, assuming that the politicians copy-paste porno rules into a possible "violent video games" law.

In any event, though, I am not too bugged about this, as the shooter genre is nearing the point of collapse anyway.

 

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