Target’s Australian branch has taken a rather bold move that will most likely send ripples throughout the country’s gaming community and advocacy groups. The retail chain, taking to heart majority of customer feedback, has decided to yank Grand Theft Auto 5 from their store shelves, not because of violence in general, which the game is already popular and notorious for, but specifically because of how women are portrayed and treated in the game. A well-timed move given the recent high-profile controversies regarding genders in games and gaming culture.
It’s not like GTA is a bastion for morality anyway. After all, it’s a game where you get to play out the life of a criminal, doing whatever you want and treating people however you want. Some see it as violence par excellence, sugar coated in the no-consequence world of a video game. Despite that, the series, particularly the most recent releases, have garnered critical acclaim throughout.
This issue this time, however, is quite specific and is focused on violence against women. With a theme like GTA, you can almost expect that women will be portrayed and treated badly, which, of course, isn’t an excuse. There are arguments for and against the selling, not exactly the content, of the game, but Target ultimately has to answer to its customers. And according to the retailer, majority of the customers want GTA 5 out.
And so 300 of Target’s stores across Australia will no longer carry Grand Theft Auto 5, which could adversely affect developer Rockstar’s profits and ratings in the area. Of course, there are always other means for really interested gamers to get their hands on the game, just not from Target. Australia’s Classification board let GTA 5 pass uncut with an R rating after all. Target will continue to sell such R rated games, just not GTA 5.
SOURCE: The Guardian