This is your normal every day story about controversial themes in video games, a baying mob placing pressure on a company with claims that are economic with the truth, a baying mob not grasping that there are serious concerns about said content and trolls emerging from beneath the bridge to spread heinous vitriol.
Target Australia have announced : Target Removes Grand Theft Auto 5 From Shelves. The announcement says :
Target General Manager Corporate Affairs Jim Cooper said the decision was made following extensive community and customer concern about the game.
“We’ve been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game’s content,” Mr Cooper said.
“We’ve also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue.
“However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers.”
GTA is of course a controversial game and has extremely adult themes. However it’s rated as an 18 rated game, although parents all too often haven’t grasped that 18 rated games mean it’s only suitable for people 18 and over and in extreme cases like GTA, it’s questionable whether it’s suitable for all people as young as 18. However this isn’t helped when a company such as Target Australia advertise a game like GTA V next to Peppa Pig and Barbie in the toys and games section of an advertising brochure.
However it’s disappointing to see Target Australia bow down to the baying mob, just as it was disappointing when Intel bowed down to the baying mob over advertising on Gamasutra. However both companies have every right to take business decisions they consider to be suitable. Target Australia feel they are a family friendly store but in the case of the latest hoo-ha, one can’t help but feel Target Australia are missing the target by a country mile. when you look at the next part of the announcement, it all gets a bit baffling :
Mr Cooper said Target would continue to sell other R-rated DVDs and games.
“While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers.
“However, in the case of GTA5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.”
The Warehouse in New Zealand consider themselves to be a family friendly store, in November they took the decision to remove all R18 rated games and DVD’s off the shelves. GTA V was also at the heart of this decision, but The Warehouse took a consistent approach to these issues, as The Warehouse chief executive Mark Powell explained :
The recently released Grand Theft Auto V, which contains graphic sex scenes and violence towards women from a first person perspective, has acted as a catalyst for our decision to totally exit the R18 games and DVD market.
We considered simply ‘de-ranging’ this product, however that would require us to judge the merits of every R18 product on an ongoing basis, which we are not in a position to do, nor do we see as our role.
The arguments that follow over Target Australia’s decision will rage on about The Warehouse’s decision too but at least The Warehouse displayed a fine degree of consistency in their approach, the same cannot be said for Target Australia. I’m not quite sure why they think it’s fine to sell other content that contains sex and graphic violence but have decided to single out GTA V as not being suitable. The cynical side of me suspects a marketing gimmick to get eyes on the prize. They did indeed get a lot of eyes on their Facebook page and are still getting a lot of eyes on the prize, they are also busily deleting thousands of dissenting voices, many of which are polite and to the point rather than vitriolic and rude.
Continue reading »