The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last week that left 20 children and six adults dead will not have a significant impact on game sales. That's according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz, who issued a note to investors today outlining the issues at hand.
Creutz said investors have expressed investment concerns regarding potential legislation that could arise from the deadly shooting, as well as fears over consumer backlash against games with depictions of violence. He said investors need not worry about the issues, as their impact is likely to be "minor at most."
"We have received many questions from investors about the potential impact of the recent tragedy in Newtown on our covered universe of video game publisher stocks," Creutz said. "While this is a difficult issue to address due to the intense emotions surrounding the incident, we have attempted to present a summary of the relevant facts herein."
Creutz pointed out that the Supreme Court's high-profile ruling last summer, which deemed the sale of violent video games to children a violation of the First Amendment, would make it difficult for any potential new legislation to ever be enforced.
"We believe that any new attempts to regulate video game sales would be quickly struck down by the courts based on this precedent," Creutz said.
Just this week, West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill to Congress that would direct the National Academy of Sciences to investigate how violent games and other such programming affect children.
The analyst also suggested that most adults already have "entrenched opinions" about the links between violence in games and violence in the real world, and these are unlikely to be changed by recent events like the Connecticut shooting.
"While these concerns are understandable--particularly given the currently emotionally charged environment--we think video game shares are now pricing in much more risk to their business models than actually exists," Creutz said in a statement. "As a result, we think the group now generally represents a buying opportunity ahead of what should be a strong year for the industry in 2013 due to a loaded first half release slate and the likely launch of new Microsoft and Sony game consoles in the back half of the year."
What's more, Creutz said retailer checks with Amazon show that shooter games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Halo 4 have continued to sell "very well" in the wake of the shooting.