The Effects of ESRB Ratings on Video Game Sales (2015)
36 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2017
Date Written: May 4, 2016
For decades now, controversy has raged over the effects that violent video games have on the cultural norms of society as well as the impact that they have on criminal behavior. While a large number of games display gory scenes and showcase adult-oriented material, others have been developed with more child-like themes in mind. The popularity of each classification of games likely has much to tell us about the values and interests that individuals within a given society hold. Several studies have attempted to determine the overall correlations between the degree of violence in video games and the negative externalities it presents in regards to crime rates. However, very little has been done in regards to how such violent and mature themes impact the popularity of video games. The current paper contributes to this ongoing literature by observing the effects that ESRB ratings have on driving the sales of the top 100 best-selling games for 2015. As it turns out, these ratings seem to be pretty insignificant in affecting overall sales. While limited in scope, this research should at least provide a starting point for considering how such themes impact the wide-spread appeal of video games.
Keywords: ESRB, video games, crime rates
JEL Classification: C01, C31, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation