A recent study concluded that feelings of anger and aggression after playing video games were more likely to be linked to gameplay mechanics than violent content.
The study was conducted by Dr. Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute, who carried out the experiment with researchers from the University of Rochester in the U.S.
The observation carried out a variety of tests and even utilized a nonviolent version of 2004 first-person shooter “Half-Life 2.”
"There's a need for researchers who are interested in these questions, not just to pull two video games off the shelf from the high street," Dr. Przybylski told the BBC.
The trial found that games altered to have counter-intuitive, difficult controls that led to feelings of incompetence produced anger and aggression, not the content of the game itself, regardless of how violent it was.
"We focused on the motives of people who play electronic games and found players have a psychological need to come out on top when playing," said Dr Przybylski. "If players feel thwarted by the controls or the design of the game, they can wind up feeling aggressive.”
"This need to master the game was far more significant than whether the game contained violent material,” he added.
So technically, a poorly played game of “Tetris” could make a player violent?
"Players of games without any violent content were still feeling pretty aggressive if they hadn't been able to master the controls or progress through the levels at the end of the session,” Dr. Przybylski added.
Prof. Richard Ryan of the University of Rochester assisted with the study. "The study is not saying that violent content doesn't affect gamers, but our research suggests that people are not drawn to playing violent games in order to feel aggressive,” he added. "Rather, the aggression stems from feeling not in control or incompetent while playing. If the structure of a game or the design of the controls thwarts enjoyment, it is this, not the violent content that seems to drive feelings of aggression."
So if you’re getting annihilated by a bunch of 14-year-olds in “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” you’re probably going to feel pretty angry about it.
Further research needs to be conducted before any final conclusion can be drawn, but this is an interesting finding. There always seem to be arguments on this issue, since numerous studies have found that violence in video games can lead to aggression.