GTA V in the news. Again

Business Insider Australia: Target And Kmart Have Taken Grand Theft Auto V Off The Shelf Over Violence Against Women Claims […] Two of Australia’s major retailers, Target, and now Kmart, have pulled the controversial game from their stores in the wake of claims of misogyny and violence against women, including the ability to have first-person sex with prostitutes and even watch it. In one example, a sex worker was killed with an axe in the game. A petition bearing 40,000 signatures on it was sent to Target and yesterday, the company announced it was pulling the game.

I am appalled.

All of it is true.

With the re-release of GTA V to Xbox One and PS4, Rockstar has introduced the option for players to play the game in first person view rather than the traditional third person made popular with GTA III. In truth, I think that the GTA franschise may be the first to use top down, third person, and first person views throughout their lifetime… people often forget that pre-GTA III the game was top down and about car theft. Having a criminal career in GTA started with III and has grown in scope ever since.

Anyway, Rockstar did a great job with FPS mode. I personally don’t like it – too hard to drive the cars – but they polished it up quite well, even remembering to put the in-game phone in your characters hand when you use it, rather than just overlaying it on screen.

And yes: if you are in first person mode, when you hire a prostitute, it moves into an animated segment (not cut scene) that shows the characters having sex. No penetration or nudity. If it was a movie, it would likely fall into the PG-13 bucket; it’s certainly not close to what you find on cable-after-dark. Not to say the game doesn’t have nudity; much like the original version of GTA V (on 360 and PS3) there is a mini-game you can play in a strip club’s VIP room. I remember this because I was fairly slack-jawwed that this was allowed in an ESRB-M game… nudity had always been auto-ESRB-AO rating, so it was surprising to me. After all, GTA the game responsible for the Hot Coffee controversy.

Simply put, it’s an adult game, for adults. This should surprise no one.

What I find appalling is that Target and Kmart are pulling the game from their shelves because of an online petition with 40,000 signatures.

I mean, think about that… according to Wikipedia are about 23,684,000 in Australia. Considering that there’s a marked segment of populous that doesn’t care about gaming for whatever reason, lets say that 25% of the country cares about this topic… we can say that 5,921,000 of the people in Australia are game aware. 40,000 of that group of people complained to Target via an online petition. 0.6% of the interested population have clicked a button to complain to a corporation, with as much effort as it takes to like a post in Facebook and less clicks than it would take to buy the game from a store. Certainly less effort than the typical protestor needs to employ, and even then, it’s hardly a majority of people. It’s just 0.6% of what I’ve called an “interested group of people” because I’m being generous with the math – it’s actually 0.16% of the total population of the country. 0.6% of the people that care and the company has cowtowed by saying that they have responded to their customers. Somehow, I don’t think so.

It is appalling that a tiny minority can wield such large power of the majority in any situation… it makes me want to start a petition that I can send to Target to and force them to not bow to vocal minority groups because it does not represent the voice of the populous.

Why do I have such outrage for a game in a country I don’t live? Two reasons: I work in this space and I’m shareholder of Target. Kmart customers can suck it.

Looks like we’re determined to not take even one lesson from #gamergate.

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