In the wake of several recent mass shootings, politicians, news analysts, and others have been talking about the effects of video game violence again. It appears Walmart is taking a step of its own, even if it’s an odd one. Reportedly, the corporation has begun removing signs advertising violent video games. Interestingly enough, though not the least bit surprising, the stores will continue selling firearms.
Vice reported that in addition to signage, the super store is also getting rid of playable demos for violent games, particularly PS4 and Xbox One titles. This decision comes not long after shootings took place at two separate Walmart locations in Mississippi and El Paso. According to the Vice report, Walmart sent notices to its employees earlier this week.
The notices have circulated online, with the title “Immediate Action: Remove Signing and Displays Referencing Violence” attached. Freelance writer Kenneth Shepard shared one on his Twitter page. Walmart’s notice instructs employees to remove signage, unplug kiosks, cancel any events “promoting combat-style or third-person shooter games,” and so on. Curiously, even “hunting season videos” in the Sports department are being put out to pasture.
Vice spoke with Walmart employees to confirm the story’s merit. In doing so, one employee told the publication,
I went into work yesterday and they handed me a copy of the instructions to remove the violent signage and gaming displays. And I immediately threw it away because it’s obviously a way to shift the blame from the real problem regarding the mass shootings. I didn’t get to confirm this yesterday but they aren’t doing anything about the sales of guns and ammo in the store.”
The above anonymously quoted worker wasn’t alone in being shocked by Walmart’s behavior. Online, fans and non-fans of gaming have shared their frustration with the corporation’s decision. Whether or not this is affecting stores outside of the US remains to be seen.