A new GamesIndustry.biz study shows that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most prominent event in the gaming calendar is dominated by violence.
Of the 239 games we have counted as being featured at E3, only 42 can be considered non-violent -- 21% of all titles on show this week.
Of the 42, only 17 (7% of the 239 total, 40% of all non-violent games) are from major publishers or platform holders. This includes eight [email protected] titles and one Square Enix Collective title -- games developed by indies but published by larger companies.
"Much of the industry's output relies on selling the same fundamental mechanic: the ability to fight and kill"
But what counts as violent? For the purposes of this study, we're focusing on violence as an action by and around the player. This means our requirements for a non-violent game are:

  • No title where you are required or encouraged to harm or kill another living entity.
  • No title with graphic or realistic depictions of violence.
  • We have also discounted cartoon violence, e.g. Luigi slamming ghosts into walls also discounted or disassembling enemies Lego Star Wars. The purpose is to identify games where the central mechanic is not death.
  • Reference to unseen violent acts, e.g. a game where you are solving a previous murder, does not count as violent.
  • Minimalist depictions or representations of conflict, e.g. a Hearthstone-style card game, do not count as violent.
  • Sports games with tackles do not count as violent, as this is not intrinsic to the game or required to win. However, sports that centre around a combative act, e.g. boxing or wrestling, are considered violent.
  • Games in which you give direct orders that lead to violence, e.g. strategy titles or turn-based RPGs, are considered violent.