International data shows no correlation between video game spending and gun crime

After tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last week, politicians and pundits tend to call out violent media including video games as elements that may play a role in these incidents. But data from 10 countries evinces "no evident, statistical correlation" between a nation's video game spending and its incidence of gun-related homicides, reports The Washington Post's WorldViews blog.

The blog compared the spending in the world's 10 largest video game markets — China, the U.S., Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada, the U.K., France, South Korea and the Netherlands — to the average amount of gun-related homicides in those countries, as measured by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The U.S. came in at number one in the latter category by far, with more than 3 gun-related murders per 100,000 people; the other nine countries came in at 0.5 murders per 100,000 people or less. Here's the graph comparing the two elements:


It's worth noting that the video game numbers account for overall spending, not just sales of video games that could be called violent. And the popularity of games by genre, including violent games such as shooters, varies across the countries in question.

Even so, it appears from the graph that the high incidence of shootings in the U.S. isn't related to the amount of money that the nation spends on video games. The other countries on the list all have much more stringent regulations on civilian ownership of guns, which may account for for their relatively low number of gun-related murders.

More from Polygon

The horror of Five Nights at Freddy's

  • Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Spacecom: a fast 4X built for multiplayer

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.