If you don’t like GTA, don’t buy it, says Rockstar

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As a result of a petition, a pair of retailers in Australia stopped stocking Grand Theft Auto V. The reason for the petition was GTA V’s deplorable treatment of its digital women. TakeTwo’s uberboss, Strauss Zelnick responded to the curtailment in a reasonable way. Speaking in a presentation at BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference, Take-Two’s president Karl Slatoff had a little more fire in what he had to say.

“It’s one thing for someone to not want to buy a piece of content, which is completely understandable,” Slatoff said. “And that’s really the solution. If you don’t like it and it’s offensive to you, then you don’t buy it. But for a person or a group of people to try to make that decision for millions of people… We have 34 million people who bought Grand Theft Auto, and if these folks had their way, none of those people would be able to buy Grand Theft Auto. And that really just flies in the face of everything that free society is based on. It’s the freedom of expression, and to try to squelch that is a dangerous and slippery slope to go down. So it’s really more disappointing for us in that regard than it is in the context of our business. Our business is going to be completely unaffected by this; it doesn’t make a difference to us. At the end of the day though, it’s not something you want because it’s a poor leadership decision.”

The comments came in response to a question about the impact the retail block has had on sales. In short, close to none. The game hasn’t been banned; it’s just two retail chains that have stopped stocking it.

“Australia is relatively small for us, and two retailers are relatively small in the context of Australia,” Slatoff said. “There are other places for folks to buy Grand Theft Auto in Australia.”

There’s no denying that GTA V is pretty horrible in its depiction and treatment of women. To be fair, it’s pretty horrible in its depictions of everyone. It’s equal opportunity nastiness! I do believe though, that if Target and Kmart felt that stocking GTA V was hurting their bottom line, they have every right to stop stocking the game. Just as Rockstar has every right to continue making games with awful depictions of people, people have every right to complain about those portrayals. And you have every right to choose whether or not to purchase those games.

Last Updated: December 10, 2014

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