Recently, Australian branches of big name retailers Target and Kmart removed ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ from store shelves. In response, President of Take-Two Karl Slatoff expressed his disappointment in both retailers at a recent conference, but reassured that the situation is not a big deal for the publisher.
“It’s one thing for someone to not want to buy a piece of content, which is completely understandable,” Slatoff said. “And that’s really the solution. If you don’t like it and it’s offensive to you, then you don’t buy it. 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. It’s the freedom of expression, and to try to squelch that is a dangerous and slippery slope to go down. So it’s really more disappointing for us in that regard than it is in the context of our business. 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 you want because it’s a poor leadership decision.”
The decision by both retailers to remove the game from store shelves was most likely in many parts influenced by a change.org petition that had been going around with nearly 50,000 signatures. The petition advocated for Target to cease the sale of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ in Australia due to a belief that the game encourages players to commit violence against women.
Despite the sale of the game being banned from both Australian branches of Target and Kmart, Slatoff remained uninhibited by the situation in terms of the grand scheme of sales.
“Australia is relatively small for us, and two retailers are relatively small in the context of Australia,” Slatoff said. “There are other places for folks to buy Grand Theft Auto in Australia.”
While Slatoff found the decision by both retailers “disappointing on many levels,” he reassured that the Take-Two has not seen any change in customer habits in Australia.
Source: Games Industry