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Walmart sparks confusion over sale of violent video games

Rebekah D. August 12, 2019

Retail giant Walmart has been sending mixed messages to media regarding the potential discontinued sale of violent video games.

After a formal statement suggesting the store would only be selling E-rated games moving forward, the initial report has since been dismissed by the company as the result of “confusion.”

Following the tragic shooting at a Walmart Supercentre in El Paso, Texas, Walmart employees were instructed to remove all signage and advertising depicting violence in video games. A memo from corporate offices was distributed to employees on August 7. 

A source shared the memo with WIN.gg, which was titled, “Immediate Action: Remove Signings and Displays Referencing Violence.” The message to staff requested that all consoles showing demos depicting violence be immediately turned off, and that they remove any signage mentioning said games and cancel any promotions relating to shooters.

Not long after stores started taking action in line with the new rules from corporate offices, customers noticed that some stores only had E-rated games left on display. They then took their concerns to social media.

The irony many picked up on was that the retail company did not stop the selling of guns in their stores. 

As no formal announcement had been made to the public regarding the removal of signage or the games themselves, IGN reached out to Walmart to if the tweets from disgruntled customers were true. LeMia Jenkins, director of national media relations, responded with a confirmation.

“We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week,” Jenkins said.

It seems that this wasn’t the whole story however, as it was soon revealed via other news outlets that Walmart had not actually stopped selling certain video games across their stores. Conflicting reports caused confusion for employees and customers alike, but a Walmart representative eventually responded to IGN once more. 

It was confirmed by this new representative that the initial contact from Jenkins had been a “miscommunication.” The company apparently had given no directive to remove games from shelves, and had not understood IGN’s initial request. 

Correcting themselves, IGN issued an apology for the confusion, saying “IGN apologizes for any confusion or alarm this may have raised. We are similarly pissed.”

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