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Take-Two Interactive president Karl Slatoff has spoken disparagingly about the recent removal of GTA V from notable Australian retailers such as Target and Kmart, stating that it “flies in the face of everything that free society’s based on”.  The game came under fire after a petition that garnered over 48,000 signatures claimed that GTA V “encourages players to commit sexual violence and kill women”.

He contended that it is the consumer’s prerogative whether or not to buy GTA V, but feels that it is wrong for a group of people to try and make that decision for others.

“It’s one thing for a person to not want to buy a piece of content, which is completely understandable. And that’s really the solution. If you don’t like it, if it’s offensive to you, then you don’t buy it,” Karl Slatoff said at the BMO Capital Markets Technology and Digital Media Conference, as previously reported by GameSpot. “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 have bought Grand Theft Auto V. If these folks had their way, none of those people would be able to buy Grand Theft Auto.”

He wanted to stress that the financial losses are trivial at best, but the freedom of expression is what’s important, and feels that it is a very dangerous road to go down.

“It’s the freedom of expression, and to try to quelch that is a very dangerous and slippery slope to go down. 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 that you want because it’s just a poor leadership decision.”

There’s plenty of other quotes on the GameSpot article which share the same sentiment. I’d say he’s completely right, but what do you think? Is this a trend that we may see more of? Is it even a huge deal at all? Let me know because I’d like to see where the TechRaptor community stands on this issue, especially my fellow Australians.

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Stephen Snook

Hello! My name is Stephen Snook, and I’m a freelance journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been doing the Youtube thing for a couple of years, and now I’m doing the whole being a games journalist person.

  • Bearpants112

    This whole debacle just underlines the fact that you cannot listen to what the SJWs say to find out what they want. They lie about wanting more options, yet what they do is try to limit options by creating a closed system where they are the arbiters of what is acceptable. The rules will be subjective, fluid, and unwritten in order to keep developers off balance and dependent upon staying on their good graces.

    It will be censorship through fear. And it’s not even an original idea. Orwell called it long ago.

  • Took them quite some time to release a statement.

    In any case, I think it’s good that Take2 are speaking out about this, because it seems that those in charge of Australian branches of international retailers are eunuchs and pseudomoralists. The first because they caved to an asinine online petition and the second because the rationalization is that it was pulled because it “normalizes violence against women” or something, but censorship concerning material that is targeted at adults is A-OK..

    It is a big deal in my view, since it sets a precedent. Give these SJW maniacs an inch and they’ll take a mile.

  • Just like with the ESA debacle, too, most of the complainers didn’t even LIVE there. It’s just that in the US you have this really odd ‘thing’ called the first amendment that causes a lot of their bullshit to die once it gets off the internet. A huge amount of sigs didn’t come from AUS citizens, some from as secluded a place as Utah!

  • Arbitrary

    “…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 have bought Grand Theft Auto V. If these folks had their way, none of those people would be able to buy Grand Theft Auto.”

    Well said.

  • Kol Khara

    Aren’t there more constructive ways for former prostitutes to deal with their abusive past then by censoring forms of entertainment they don’t like?

  • TheSharpeful

    The campaign itself that was used to ban the game was filled with lies.
    You simply cannot perform any sexual violent acts in GTA. Ever.
    Not to mention that due to its sandbox nature, any “violence” that is perpetrated on female characters is also, and often much more frequently done to male characters.

    Not that any of this matters ofcourse since none of it is real. No people are actually killed, no people are harmed, it’s just like reading a book, except not so much is left to the imagination to fill in and more control over the story is given to the “reader” / player.

    I find the counter-campaigns interesting.
    If we do go down this path of banning things that offend us, then the sky is the limit. It’s the end of western culture as we know it.
    The bible.. banned, promotes violence and death. Romantic novels, banned, promotes irrealistic representations of men to women. Porn, banned, promotes irrealistic expectations in men and women of real sexual interactions.
    TV, paintings, religions, every day interactions, clothing… we’d go through banning just about everything, because someone, somewhere, regardless of how crazy they are, is always offended about something.
    And what the internet does is provide these people a space to form “bandwagons”, regardless of how irrepresentative of society at large they are.

  • Pablo Hernández

    You know something’s wrong with a country when a bunch of prostitutes dictate what content adults should buy at a store

  • dsadsada

    The slippery slope is the entire reason I’m against this as well. If retailers decide not to carry a product, that’s their decision. But for it to be removed because a bunch of people who may not even play videogames protested its existence on the basis of things completely misrepresented or taken out of context like has been the case with GTA V is a completely stupid situation. Suits that are too busy to dig deep enough to verify the situation and the claims made against the product will just see a big retailer removing the product for offensive content and would consider it a good idea to do the same. All this does is create a precedent for similar things in the future.

  • Unbelievable that such a petition succeeded. This is nothing more than censorship working by lying.