In brief: With politicians once again blaming violent video games for the recent mass shootings, and Walmart removing signs for these titles from its stores, some might believe that the best-selling games right now consist mostly of mature-rated titles, but that isn’t the case.
Following the El Paso and Dayton shootings on August 3 and August 4, certain politicians pointed the finger of blame at violent video games. Their demonization continued when it was revealed Walmart would be removing “signing and displays referencing violence,” which includes demos and ads promoting violent games.
Thinknum decided to take a look at the best-selling games from Walmart, GameStop, and Amazon in the weeks leading up to the shootings to see if there were an abundance of violent titles. It found that out of the 30 top games from all three retailers, just seven had ESRB ‘Mature’ ratings.
Walmart had four Mature games in its July top 10. These included the older Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1, which climbed into the charts because of their discounts. GameStop only had one—Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which hasn’t yet been released—while Amazon’s only ‘violent’ games were Fallout 76 and The Last of Us Remastered.
Much of the charts were made up of sports games, family-friendly Nintendo offerings, and other titles with ‘Everyone’ ESRB ratings.
As noted by Digital Trends, while NPD's top-selling video games of the year to date do contain the likes of Mortal Kombat 11, Resident Evil 2, and CoD: Black Ops III, many softer titles including Kingdom Hearts III and MLB 19: The Show make the list. Additionally, its June chart is weighted more heavily toward non-violent titles.