GTA 5 publisher Take Two won’t even notice any sales lost by the recent Australian retailer withdrawals of Rockstar’s latest.
GTA 5 was pulled from Kmart and Target in Australia in response to a petition.
Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference, as reported by GamesIndustry, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said that this won’t make any difference to the company’s bottom line.
“Our business is going to be completely unaffected by this; it doesn’t make a difference to us,” he said.
“Australia is relatively small for us, and two retailers are relatively small in the context of Australia. There are other places for folks to buy Grand Theft Auto in Australia.”
However, Slatoff was less serene about the decision’s potential consequences outside the business realm.
“It’s one thing for someone 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 and it’s offensive to you, then you don’t buy it,” he said.
“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.”
Slatoff also said that blocking “freedom of expression” is “a dangerous and slippery slope to go down”.
The GTA 5 decision has fired plenty of discussion, with some parties erroneously describing a stocking decision by two retailers at the arse end of the world as “censorship”. There’s a great piece on Kotaku Australia discussing the matter, and why the decision may have had more to do with disinterest in games than moral decisions.
GTA 5 is currently available from pretty much every other retailer with games in stock that handles R18+ material, and is so unlikely ever to be affected, altered or even attentive to criticism of its content that we should probably all go find something else to leap to the defence of. Further reading: remember that time Australia went mad and de-classified GTA because modders unlocked unused assets? You’ll notice GTA continues to exist and make money hand over fist in spite of this blip.