Since the posting of this story, Walmart has claimed they were confused over our request for comment, effectively reverting their statement on a policy around the ban of any game sales (temporary or otherwise).During this investigation IGN reached out multiple times to ask whether Walmart was halting the sale of video games from its stores. We asked Walmart to clarify yesterday’s reports regarding video game ads and signage, and then added, “There are additional reports on Twitter that say certain stores are taking down video game sales completely. Is there any truth to these reports?”
Walmart followed up in reply with the statement that you see in the original story. In the statement Walmart said, “We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and it does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment.”
IGN requested further clarification around the sale of video games specifically, to which Walmart replied, “Our statement stands company wide.”
Shortly after the posting of this story, we were contacted by a Walmart representative who apologized for what was apparently a miscommunication on their behalf. We have since clarified with the aforementioned Walmart representative that the company has “not given any directive to remove video games from the shelves.”
IGN apologizes for any confusion or alarm this may have raised. We are similarly pissed.
Original story continues…
Walmart’s removal of any references to violent video games and media from stores appears to have extended to the actual selling of video games as well.
Yesterday, reports came out that Walmart sent out internal communications to stores asking them to pull down ads, signage, and even demos for violent video games following the mass shooting at a Walmart Superstore in El Paso, Texas on August 3.
A day later, Twitter user Erik Tyler Louden tweeted out that their Walmart isn’t even selling games. The original memo which was posted online only mentioned signing and displays that reference violence.
IGN reached out to Walmart for confirmation, and received the following response from LeMia Jenkins, director of national media relations:
“We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and it does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment. We are focused on assisting our associates and their families, as well as supporting the community, as we continue a thoughtful and thorough review of our policies.”
Jenkins added, “Our statement stands company wide.”
Tyler Louden’s tweet shows an empty games aisle where most of the video games previously on sale appear to be pulled. The only games left for sale are sports titles like FIFA 19, NBA 2K19, and Mario Kart Deluxe 8. Walmart is still selling games online, and there appears to be an option to do in-store pickups for game orders. IGN has not been able to confirm whether the in-store pickup option is actually viable in stores.
It appears, however, that Walmart is reviewing its entire video game sales policies, which has led to a temporary cease in video game sales from store locations. Despite no scientific link between games and violence, Walmart’s sales decisions effectively link the ongoing debate about mass shootings with guns.
Following the mass shooting on August 3 where a 21-year-old man killed 22 people and wounded 24 others at a Walmart in El Paso, President Trump and lawmakers like congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blamed video games as a cause of public violence. Despite this, Walmart seems to be exploring its future regarding video game sales, even as Walmart stores continue to sell guns.
IGN has reached out to Walmart to ask whether this policy extends to movies and CDs as well.
Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN. You can reach him on Twitter.SOURCE: IGN.com