Results of some of the first long-term research into online video game playing, conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign alongside Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, has reached results claiming that there is no evidence of a strong link between video game violence and aggression behavior in players.
Studies were made of players of Turbine's massively multilplayer online role-playing game Asheron’s Call 2, where, after an average of 56 hours play a month there was found to be “no strong effects associated with aggression” caused by the game. Players were found not to be statistically different from the non-playing control group in their beliefs on aggression after playing the game than they were before playing – according to Dmitri Williams, the lead author of the study.
Gameplay was also found not to be a predictor of aggressive behaviors. Compared with the control group, the players neither increased their argumentative behaviors after gameplay nor were significantly more likely to argue with their friends and partners.
"I’m not saying some games don’t lead to aggression, but I am saying the data are not there yet," Williams said. “Until we have more long-term studies, I don’t think we should make strong predictions about long term effects, especially given this finding.”
The new study involved two groups of participants: players – a “treatment” group of 75 people who had no prior MMORPG play and who played AC2 for the first time; and a control group of 138, who did not play. The participants were solicited through online message boards and ranged in age from 14 to 68, the average age being 27.7 years.
The results of the new study, Williams says, support the contention of those who suggest that some violent games do not necessarily lead to increased real-world aggression. He does concede though that because the study didn’t concentrate solely on younger teenagers, “we cannot say that teenagers might not experience different effects.”