Two big names in retail, Kmart and Target, have removed Grand Theft Auto 5 from their store shelves in Australia in response to an online petition.
The petition, which currently has over 46,000 supporters, asked Target to remove the game because of it’s enabling of in-game violence against women.
The petition on change.org says “It's a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'health' points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking.”
After Target announced removing the game from its Australian stores, Kmart followed suit. According to Kotaku Australia the decision was made by the company after a review of the games’ content.
It’s understandable that people are going to get upset about certain themes in games, or any medium, but it feels like there is a double standard applied to games when compared to movies or other creative works.
Target and Kmart are free to pull whatever they want from their store shelves and for any reason or no reason at all, but it’s disappointing that no matter what the medium or subject matter is, people can’t keep their opinions to themselves and let individuals make their own decision. I guess if you want the freedom to have that type of content though, the nay sayers should have the freedom to detest it.
At the end of the day this news really doesn’t mean much for videogames. There are other retailers who will continue to sell GTAV in Australia, and I wouldn’t be surprised if when the next Grand Theft Auto comes out you will be able to find it in both of those stores.