Here's why you probably aren't just imagining that video games have become more and more violent over the past 10 years

If you felt like video games were getting more violent and more sexual in the past 10 years, it might not just be you.

New research from the data crunchers at Dadaviz shows a trend that would outrage anti-violent-game activist Tipper Gore. Since 2005, there has been a stark decline in new kid-friendly video games, and an increase in “mature” ones.

Dadaviz’s Ian Sommers looked at the video game titles released in the last decade and charted their respective ESRB rating. The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) is an agency that assigns different ratings to computer and video games, indicating the “appropriate” age group for viewing them.

The ratings go from “E” for everyone: “May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language”; to “M” for mature: “Content is generally suitable for persons ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.” Well, there is also “A” for adult, but those titles are akin to an NC-17 films, and usually aren’t mainstream.

And if the data is any indication, it seems that the taste of the gaming public has shifted toward gore and away from minimal cartoon violence. The amount of games released that are dubbed suitable for everyone has nosedived.

See the shift in the graph below (though it’s important to note that some of this could reflect changes in reviewing standards as well):

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