Target And Kmart Pretending To Be Prudes In Australia Over A Vocal Anti-GTA5 Minority

from the windsocks dept

Update: We've just noticed that we originally named Walmart in this story when it should be Kmart. We've removed the instances of Walmart and deeply regret the error. Also, it should be noted that Kmart Australia and Target Australia are divisions of Wesfarmers Limited and not related to the US corporations with similar names.

As you may have heard if you follow gaming news, the next-gen console version of Grand Theft Auto 5 release in Australia hit a bit of snag this past week. Now, let's start this off by noting that it was only recently that the government of Australia finally agreed to treat its citizens like adults and allow the kind of video games we enjoy in the States to even be sold in the land down under. It came along with a strict ratings system, of course, but at least these games were finally available for purchase. It was a victory for speech and art.

And now, stupidly and cynically, retailers are pretending to be prudish, in the face of a petition by a vocal minority making almost purely emotional arguments, and have agreed to remove Grand Theft Auto 5 from their shelves. The focal impetus of this response by both Target and Kmart in Australia appears to be this Change.org petition, which is about as Change.org-petition-y as it gets.

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.
As anyone who has played the game, as I have, can tell you, this is only half true. Or, actually, perhaps less than half, because all the same violence, sexual misanthropy, and cruelty applies at least to the men in the game as well, and I'm pretty sure I remember smacking around some wildlife during my foray into the game as well. The point of GTA5 isn't to demean women; it's to demean everyone and everything. The whole thing is a farce for violence and cruelty. That's its very point. But, to understand the plea of the petition, you have to understand who is issuing it.
We have firsthand experience of this kind of sexual violence. It haunts us, and we've been trying to rebuild our lives ever since. Just knowing that women are being portrayed as deserving to be sexually used by men and potentially murdered for sport and pleasure – to see this violence that we lived through turned into a form of entertainments is sickening and causes us great pain and harm.
Let's be clear about two things. The first is that any real life abuse of women, sexual or otherwise, is a horrific thing and should not be tolerated in any fashion anywhere. It's horrible and it breaks my heart knowing that survivors of such abuse must slog through life on a daily basis overcoming the abuse every step of the way. The second thing we must be absolutely clear on is that for anyone that values free speech, be it government or a corporate entity, the fact that these women issuing their petition are abuse survivors doesn't matter even a little bit. Free speech and artistic expression don't simply get to be limited just because some people may be emotionally hurt by it.

The two retailers, Target and Kmart, being private entities, can of course do as they please. But when they say the following in their press release:
"We've been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game's content," [Target's GM of Corporate Affairs] Mr Cooper said. "We've also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue. However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers."
then they must also explain why this decision over a forever-controversial gaming franchise is only coming upon the re-release of the game, which originally came out a year ago, and how they can also take the following stance.
Mr Cooper said Target would continue to sell other R-rated DVDs and games.

"While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers.
Because the first quote from Mr. Cooper obviates his company's need to take such a stance. All he and Target must do, to remain consistent, is constantly follow the demands of whichever group is shouting the loudest. Because, given that we're talking about one of the best-selling videogames in the history of the medium, that line about Target listening to the majority of consumers is a big bucket of bullshit. And, of course, Target and Kmart will happily sell the game elsewhere in the world, and make gobs of money off of it, while the petitioners updated their petition with "Thank you Target/Kmart" posts.

Fails all around, so... well done everyone.


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  • icon
    Rikuo (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 12:04pm

    "The point of GTA5 isn't to demean women; it's to demean everyone and everything."

    While I am a proud player of the PS4 version, I have to say I don't like this sentence in this article. It's kinda shooting yourself in the foot.
    "GTA teaches you to demean women!"
    "No it doesn't!...it teaches you to demean EVERYONE!"
    ...*sound of crickets*
    This can be interpreted that you agree with the stated position: it teaches you to demean women, worse in fact, everyone.

    I'm not saying I agree with the feminists here (far from it, I bought the game for my 14 year old sister, and she didn't suffer or change in her behavior at all), just saying that that sentence looks a bit sloppy to me.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      I bought the game for my 14 year old sister, and she didn't suffer or change in her behavior at all

      It's impossible for you to know how it affected her brain. Hell, it's impossible for her to know how it affected it as most of the learning and housekeeping processes take place beyond her consciousness.

      Since you can't run a controlled experiment comparing her brain from the before and after affects, nor can you monitor it into the future to see how the playing the game modified it vs the brain of a version of her which didn't, you cannot know what effects it had on her.

      Everything you see when it comes to the development of a human mind is purely superficial. There is far more going on under the hood than is visible, and the complexity involved from inputs and outputs interacting with each other and the unique makeup of her brain is far beyond our current understandings.

      Just an friendly fyi that will hopefully curb your confidence in knowing for sure how an input will or won't affect your sister.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 2:36pm

        Re: Re:

        The American Academy of Pediatrics can and as done controlled experiments and found them too be find, tho violent video games can worsen violence in already violent people. Plus, if what you say is really true, no one should be "confident" about or allow to play games like Grad Theft Auto.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 3:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Those experiments barely scratch the surface of input output behavior and the long and short term effects various inputs have on the mind. They only focus on what a scientist can subjectively observe about an individual's behavior before and after an input is processed, and only for a brief period of time. They say zero about how an input affects the brain, and zero about how an input is processed, stored, and incorporated into consciousnesses.

          In other words, the recorded results of the experiment you provided are only slightly less superficial than the ones the parent says he observed in his sister.

          The technology and brain simulation models required to do proper studies on this subject do not exist yet, and are no where on the horizon. Therefore any studies you come across claiming to have meaningful results in this arena are not to be taken too seriously. That's not to say the experiments are completely useless or a wasted effort (we have to start somewhere) but is just meant to reiterate that the brain and the trillions of interactions contained therein are far too complex to map and study at our current levels of understanding. Sociology and psychology are among the softest sciences around, and are likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

          Plus, if what you say is really true, no one should be "confident" about or allow to play games like Grad Theft Auto.

          Fair enough.

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          • icon
            JP Jones (profile), 7 Dec 2014 @ 10:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Those experiments barely scratch the surface of input output behavior and the long and short term effects various inputs have on the mind.

            This is true of every psychological test in existence. By your logic, we should just get rid of psychology completely because we don't have accurate tests yet.

            Your entire response is a justification...you apparently think GTA is bad for people, so you respond with "science can't prove it's bad for you...yet!" What are you basing this on? If science can't prove it's bad, what facts are you using to come to the conclusion it's bad?

            Sure, you'll probably use the standard cop-out of "well, that's not what I actually said, I just argued that we don't actually know if it's bad or not yet!" The fact that you're even making this argument means you think it's bad. Otherwise, why not argue that pancakes cause insanity? Or the color blue causes, I don't know, caffeine addiction? We can't prove they don't, because the brain is complicated!

            Somewhat ironically, you are right in a way...we don't actually know what GTA's effects on a 14-year-old are. They could be dramatic, or they could be, well, nothing. Considering that we've never found a statistical correlation between violent video games and actual violence beyond coincidence I'm much more inclined to believe the effects to be on the "minor-none" scale rather than the "major-walking time bomb" one people seem to think exists.

            The truth is we don't really know why people become violent. There's too many factors, and we don't have a way to model it. Throughout the years we've blamed every popular media source on violence, from jazz, then hip-hop, then death metal to chess (look it up), then violent books, violent movies, and now violent video games. You might as well posit that "air causes violence."

            It's worth studying, but we need to stop wasting time with things we're already pretty sure aren't the cause, considering violence has existed for all of human history and video games have existed, at most, 67 years.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2014 @ 10:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hey go back and read what I actually wrote and reply accordingly and then i'll consider responding to you. Your shrill straw-man screeching isn't worth my time.

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              • icon
                JP Jones (profile), 7 Dec 2014 @ 12:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Hey go back and read what I actually wrote and reply accordingly...

                Ok, fine, I'll bite.

                It's impossible for you to know how it affected her brain...blah blah blah...Just an friendly fyi that will hopefully curb your confidence in knowing for sure how an input will or won't affect your sister.

                My translation: "you don't know if it affected her or not because current science doesn't/can't know it."

                Reason for my response: the only reason to say this is if you disagree that it didn't change her behavior. If there is no scientific data that it did change her behavior, you must be operating on the opinion that it did or can.

                The "small" interpretation, that you're just clarifying he doesn't know for certain one way or another, is a pointless comment because you could argue it about basically everything. Another "small" interpretation is that everything we experience affects us...which is obvious, and again applies to everything.

                Since you're commenting specifically in a response about GTA, and all soft interpretations apply so generally as to be irrelevant, I concluded that you were applying a specific interpretation: that GTA likely affected the poster's sister, and he's too ignorant to realize it.

                Those experiments barely scratch the surface of input output behavior and the long and short term effects various inputs have on the mind...

                And here my hypothesis becomes clearer. You repeat basically the same thing, that we don't actually understand the human brain and so we need to be cautious with scientific data from sociology and psychology, which is again obvious and irrelevant. We don't understand physics either, yet scientists have models for the creation of the universe (which is really not any more accurate due to the same uncertainty principle). So what? Science is about what you can observe, not about what you can't.

                So why do you have two long posts about scientific uncertainty? All scientists (those that study the field) understand that no theory or conclusion is 100% certain, and much of scientific research is about determining just how much certainty we can expect within a specific hypothesis, and what we can do to reduce the areas where that hypothesis fails.

                Plus, if what you say is really true, no one should be "confident" about or allow to play games like Grad Theft Auto.
                Fair enough.

                And here you state your opinion. "Because the effects of violent video games on the mind are unclear, no one should be allowed to play them." When someone stated this in response to your discussion on scientific uncertainty, your response was "fair enough." From a scientific uncertainty perspective, however, since what research we have done indicates little to no influence on behavior, why would your conclusion be that we should do the complete opposite?

                Right, because you already have your opinion. In other words, person A says "My 14-year old sister played GTA, and she's fine." You respond "You don't know she's fine, it could have affected her and you wouldn't be able to tell because science doesn't know yet." Someone else responds with research stating that we haven't found a correlation between video games and violence, and that by your logic we shouldn't allow such games. You respond "well, that science is uncertain, and you are probably right."

                My conclusion? You definitely have an opinion, it goes against the research we do have, so you use the "well, we don't really know..." argument to make it seem like you're basing it on science and not the exact opposite.

                Sorry to call you out on it.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2014 @ 1:35pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  And here my hypothesis becomes clearer. You repeat basically the same thing, that we don't actually understand the human brain and so we need to be cautious with scientific data from sociology and psychology, which is again obvious and irrelevant.

                  It's not irrelevant in the slightest. You can't quote a facile study so limited in scope to be essentially useless and then try to use it to support an argument. The report cited can't answer the core question of the disagreement (whether playing GTAV negatively affects the human brain or not), therefore it can't be used as a crutch to do so.

                  Many people claim that playing violent video games causes no harm, they then cite studies to back up their argument, but neither the science nor the studies support that conclusion. That's the core issue here.

                  Plus, if what you say is really true, no one should be "confident" about or allow to play games like Grad Theft Auto.
                  Fair enough.

                  Read up on leaded gasoline and paints, asbestos, CFCs, CO2, BPA, the list go on an on. How many of those do you think were branded as completely safe over and over again by scientific studies yet we now know that they are highly damaging to ourselves and the planet?

                  Here's a inspirational video for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22KrVB5eglg

                  A little less confidence and a little more caution is always in order when dealing with a developing technology which we interact directly with. As far as what is allowed, we already ban the sale of these games to children. That's what I was referring to when i agreed with the AC.

                  Right, because you already have your opinion. In other words, person A says "My 14-year old sister played GTA, and she's fine." You respond "You don't know she's fine, it could have affected her and you wouldn't be able to tell because science doesn't know yet." Someone else responds with research stating that we haven't found a correlation between video games and violence, and that by your logic we shouldn't allow such games. You respond "well, that science is uncertain, and you are probably right." Sorry to call you out on it.

                  I'm not sure why you're wasting so many words making this point as if it matters. I never claimed i didn't have an opinion and you know what, i'll bet you have one as well. *gasp*

                  The facts stand however: The science isn't there and won't be for a long time and if you cite superficial studies claiming otherwise you're going to get called out on it.

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                  • icon
                    JP Jones (profile), 7 Dec 2014 @ 7:33pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    So, every scientific test to find a causal link between violent games (and other media) and actual violence has found little to no connection. We have no statistical correlation between violent video games and violent criminals.

                    At most, we've found that violent video games can make people more aggressive, which is also true of pep rallies, vehicle traffic, and sports teams. As a matter of fact, I'm fairly certain there haven't been too many riots over video games...yet there's been plenty over sports. And politics. And religion. Actually, the last two have pretty strong evidence to be almost directly responsible for most of the violence in human history.

                    You're using the same logic that people use to "refute" global warming and evolution. Well, we don't actually know for certain that we're causing the planet to warm up, or that species change over time! It could be (insert your irrational idea here).

                    The human brain is remarkably good at discerning between fact and fiction, and we learn this skill at a very young age (children as young as three years old can discern between reality and fantasy, although they may be inaccurate in many cases, especially if exposed to fantasy as reality by an adult). By fourteen humans can easily tell the difference between reality (a car chase on the news) and fiction (a car chase in a movie). Even with the best graphics video games don't look real, and the player is causing the actions to happen. It's almost impossible for a 14-year-old to confuse a video game with real life.

                    So you say there isn't good "science" that proves video games aren't bad for you. You compare it to asbestos, lead, etc. So you've seen the future, huh? One of these days we're going to look back and wonder how we ever allowed these video games to destroy our society?

                    Please. We know exactly what video games do to the mind; the same thing all our other media does and leisure activities do. Sometimes it exacerbates preexisting mental illness. Sometimes it creates a psychological addiction. Most of the time it does nothing except cause people to have fun for a couple hours. It's like reading a good book, watching a movie, drinking a beer, or having sex. These things all affect your brain, and all of them can become addicting, harmful, and dangerous if taken to the extreme. Some of them we keep from children, because we don't want them exposed until they have more context and are better able to handle deciding for themselves.

                    So what? You know what causes the real violence and aggression behind GTA V? The fact that the game was released September 2013 and still doesn't have a PC release. Seriously, WTF Rockstar, I'm not going to buy your game to run it on a second-rate console POS.

                    Let's riot! Oh wait, that doesn't happen with video games. But yeah, I'm sure one of these days I'll be shocked at how that newfangled rock-n-roll is ruining the morals of children and...oh, wait. I meant video games. Yeah, I'm sure these are the things that will turn us evil.

                    Sigh, why do I even bother.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2014 @ 8:44pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Indeed, why do you bother? You're saying "we know exactly what video games do to the mind" which is false. We barely know anything about the mind and no sociologist or physiologist worth his salt will tell you anything different.

                      Like economics sociology and psychology are soft sciences and impossible to fully understand at our current technological levels. Controlled experiments aren't possible on the human brain or on human behavior - the variables are too vast and always in flux and each brain is unique - so we can't know what we can't properly study.

                      There is a fairly basic dichotomy between soft and hard sciences. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_and_soft_science

                      Science is about what you can observe, not about what you can't.

                      So since we can't observe (because the technology does not exist) the short and long term changes the mind undergoes when receiving various inputs there's no science there?

                      What you don't appear to realize is that your opinion that games aren't (in most cases) harmful to the human brain is no more valid than my opinion that they might very well be. The difference is that you base your conclusion on what you consider to be the proven science of some studies here and there while i base mine on the very real fact that those studies are extremely limited soft-science affairs and thus practically worthless and that until the technology is advanced enough to model and study the mind properly we can't know for sure.

                      One of us is being objective while the other is not. Can you guess which is which?

                      To put it another way, would you be willing to bet your life that we know all there is to know about how games affect the mind? Because i'd be willing to bet mine that we don't.

                      All that being said, i've enjoyed this debate with you and i appreciate your thoughtful replies. I can tell you're quite intelligent and it's always nice to square off against people like you. Regards.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2014 @ 10:55pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Couple of corrections,

                        1) 'physiologist' should read 'psychologist' in the first paragraph (clicked the wrong autocorrect option).

                        2) "Controlled experiments aren't possible on the human brain or on human behavior" is the wrong terminology since controlled experiments can incorporate imperfect controls and thus can be done on humans. What i meant to imply is that because it's impossible at our current technological advancement to have perfect controls (to event get close to that ideal we'd need either human clones or brain simulations with the computing power to run them) the results of psychological studies are soft and scarcely reliable given the enormous complexity of the brain and the trillions of interdependent and interlinked variables that make up consciousness.

                        Added to which every brain has it's own unique makeup that will respond uniquely to any stimuli. Added to which each unique brain has been, is, and will be molded by an entirely unique set of environmental variables from both inward (unique biology) and outward.

                        The scope of study is beyond comprehension.

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                        • icon
                          JP Jones (profile), 8 Dec 2014 @ 7:17am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I recommend rereading the article you linked. I suppose this is a greater scientific debate that has little to do with GTA V, but I have to point out that the conflict between "hard" and "soft" sciences is largely irrelevant since the same criticisms apply equally to both. The brain is no more or no less complex than the systems in theoretical physics, yet I doubt many people go back and laugh at the misunderstandings of 1960s physicists when they landed people on the moon.

                          Or do you think the human brain is more complex than the universe? Perhaps you would like to tell Stephen Hawking that he should just give up his research because hey, it's not like you can do a controlled experiment on the Big Bang! Clearly physics is a soft science!

                          Sure, we can't know for certain the exact effects of video games on the human brain. So what? We can observe the effects and control for them over a large population. We do it all the time, for all sorts of science.

                          Here's how it works...we take a subset of a population, say 100,000. We ensure that the subset follows the same or similar patterns to the whole; similar ethnic group dispersion, varied social classes, different age groups, etc. We do some studies; we ask how many people play video games, how many of them are violent, and how often. We look at the rates of violent crime in the group, and compare the responses to the rate of crime, and check for a statistical correlation. We control for other factors that increase rates of violent crime, such as poverty and education.

                          This is pretty much the same way they discovered that asbestos was bad for you. There was a death, they did studies, and looked to see if there was a correlation between heath issues and working in asbestos factories. Sure enough, they found one, and now we know asbestos is bad for you. We didn't find out because of some super accurate scientific model; we did a population study. It's common and is fairly good at observing trends and when things cause harmful effects within a group.

                          Unlike asbestos, however, studies have not found any such link between video games and "harmful effects." This is despite significant political pressure to establish such a link, and despite the media's attempt to examine the video game habits of every modern killer, even when it's been shown over and over again that video games are not the root cause. If they were, over a large population, you should see a statistically significant increase in violence along with increased video game usage, which doesn't happen.

                          In other words, actual science, not the made up "perfect" science with clones and brain simulations, imply strongly that video games are not any more harmful to humans than any other sort of leisure activity. Until this theory is disproven, that's the science...and it is entirely comprehensible.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2014 @ 7:46am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            haha ok.

                            Speaking of this "you're using the same logic that people use to "refute" global warming" you've actually got it backward. You're the guy standing around during the industrial age saying that dumping all the CO2 into the air is totally fine settled science because by-gum they've done studies, oh and plants just love CO2.

                            And i'm the guy standing around questioning whether dumping billions and billions of pounds of this stuff into the atmosphere is a good idea.

                            Also for future reference you should never ask this question in a debate: "so you've seen the future, huh?" for obvious reasons (no i haven't, have YOU?).

                            It's been fun. Peace out man.

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                            • icon
                              richard40 (profile), 8 Dec 2014 @ 3:06pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              The problem with your last comment is the one demanding expensive action, in this case the pro global warming people, have the burden of proof. And we, not demanding any change, have the right to ask all the questions we want, and you should answer them. So you cant just be asking questions, you are the one that must meet the burden of proof, that:
                              1. Global warming definitely exists.
                              2. Proof that the warming comes mainly from increased CO2 and not from natural climate variation.
                              3. Proof that the warming will continue unless action is taken to stop it.
                              4. Proof that gobal warming will definitely cause great net harm, and not just be mainly benign, or have harm balanced with benefits.
                              5. Proof that the proposed action is less expensive than than any harm that might come from global warming.

                              From what I have seen, you only have proof for point 1, and that only for an 18 yr period, from 1980-1998, otherwise the climate has been stable. I see no scientific proof for any of the other crucial points.

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      • icon
        Nigel Lew (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 4:55pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't know man. My roomates 14 y/o was playing this last night and I caught a scene where the characters smokes pcp. I fully expect the boy to be on tour with Phish by tomorrow.

        :)

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  • icon
    rorybaust (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Error in your Story

    Its KMART and Target both subsidiaries of West Farmers no connection to US stores or entities of the same name , there is no Walmart operated in Australia

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 12:43pm

      Re: Error in your Story

      Beat me to the punch. Not only do they have no connection to the US entities but they're owned by the same holding company, the Wesfarmers Group.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Error in your Story

      Are the KMart and Target stores there using the same logos and trademarks? If yes then West Farmers are under a franchise agreement.

      If the answer is no then West Farmers may want to consider making a distinction lest confusion like this occurs again.

      And if WalMart does want to set up in Australia the folks there would be wise to insist on a franchise agreement and not allow WalMart's US corporate to directly operate such stores.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 2:46pm

        Re: Re: Error in your Story

        "Are the KMart and Target stores there using the same logos and trademarks? If yes then West Farmers are under a franchise agreement."

        That is the case. However, it's not a franchise agreement, it's a licensing arrangement that allows them to use the logos. KMart & Target (the real ones) have no say in the operation of these stores.

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        • icon
          G Thompson (profile), 6 Dec 2014 @ 3:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Error in your Story

          The trademarks for the Australian companies are soley Australian trademarks, the USA companies (as the anon below states) receive absolutely nothing and were last past the post in the trademark application.

          The licensing agreement is not financial and is only to allow each to advertise online in their respective markets and NOT outside of them.

          Wesfarmers like Coles when they owned them are under no legal obligation whatsoever to the American corporation nor should they be.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2014 @ 12:26am

        Re: Re: Error in your Story

        Kmart and Target were originally part of Coles Incorporated (Aust) no relation to Coles in the USA..

        Interestingly both K-Mart and Target Australia pre-date the opening of target and K-Mart stores in the USA so maybe the USA needs to make the distinction? hmmmm?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 12:40pm

    They have first hand experience of killing women for health points?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 12:55pm

    Don't you have to be 16 years old to buy GTA and rated-R movies? I've seen some sick and twister rated-R horror movies. I don't see how GTA is any worse.

    I've meet a lot of women who enjoy a good horror flick showing some axe murderer chasing down women. So I find this whole DVD vs video game argument to be ironic.

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    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 1:08pm

      Re:

      From my understanding, the game in Australia is rated R18, meaning you have to be older than 18 to buy the game and it's legally enforceable.

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      • icon
        G Thompson (profile), 6 Dec 2014 @ 12:30am

        Re: Re:

        It's very much rated R which means it is actually a criminal offense to sell/supply it to a minor (under 18yrs).

        This doesn't mean that poarents cannot purchase the product and allow there children to play it (supervised or not) just that like tobacco (16yrs) and alcohol (18yrs) and Porn Videos (18yrs) it is highly controlled. Though NOT illegal for the minor themselves to play/consume/smoke

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  • icon
    Votre (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 1:04pm

    I find it ironic that the complaint motivating Target and Walmart to pull it was initiated by three people who were offended because of the violence they experienced in real life while engaged in what is also considered by many to be an immoral and/or criminal activity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 1:07pm

    We have firsthand experience of this kind of sexual violence.


    Only this is a video game. What that statement tells me is that the victims didn't or couldn't find the reset button if they are having troubles distinguishing between real life and video game life.

    This is the same old crap that has nothing to do with video games. Those that think they know how you should lead your life better than you are out trying to see you live your life as they see fit.

    Video games with violence in them don't cause violence. If anything they work the aggressions out someone might have. Why am I not hearing this about TV, movies, or rap music?

    A recent study totally disproved this idea that video game violence causes real life violence. If a person has troubles with telling the difference between the two, it's not gaming problems they have; it's mental and psychological. Denying game playing I promise will not cure that. They'll find their justifications just as easy from book, movie, song, or their imagination if none of the others are available.

    BTW, why am I not hearing about banning the use of imagination in this? Strangely silent on that aspect isn't it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 1:47pm

    Most ironic is that many of the comments in the signature for that petition make clear that they're AGAINST what the petition are for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mattshow (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 2:18pm

    While I play GTAV and enjoy it and I agree that it's clear the people who wrote that petition have never actually played the game or even talked to anyone who has, I'm not sure I like the way you're spinning the free speech issue
    in this post.


    The second thing we must be absolutely clear on is that for anyone that values free speech, be it government or a corporate entity, the fact that these women issuing their petition are abuse survivors doesn't matter even a little bit.


    First, as you identify, these are private entities so the legal conception of free speech doesn't really factor in to it (unless Australian law really does offer free speech guarantees which apply to private entities, which I doubt). So this must be that vaguely defined "free speech as a social norm" concept that people love to toss around. But even then, I still don't see it.

    Target and KMART aren't preventing Rockstar from speaking. They just aren't providing them with a platform to do it, and I don't think they have an obligation to. They have free speech interests too. Clearly they see choosing to sell or not to sell the game as a way to send a message to their customers, and they have the right to choose which message they send.

    It doesn't mean I support their decision, I just don't see this as a free speech issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 2:37pm

      Re:

      "these are private entities so the legal conception of free speech doesn't really factor in to it"

      Bullshit. Free speech is an ideal. It's an ideal enshrined in many governments highest laws, but it is not therefore an ideal limited to government. Is their decision to not carry GTAV part of their free speech? Yes. Is their decision not to carry GTAV inhibiting Rockstar's free speech? Yes.

      Free speech has jack shit to do with government, except for the part where even governments (notoriously retarded organizations) manage to recognize its importance. They do not define free speech, they recognize it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        HegemonicDistortion (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 4:27pm

        Re: Re:

        "Yes. Is their decision not to carry GTAV inhibiting Rockstar's free speech? Yes."

        Patently absurd. How has their decision affected Rockstar's speech or art in any way? These stores haven't prevented Rockstar from selling or disseminating their product in any way -- Rockstar is still completely free to do so. Which is of course OP's point that actual censorship is an act of government, prohibiting one from speaking.

        In your stupid view, stores would be forced to sell whatever anyone wanted them to lest they violate [stores] violate their free speech rights.

        Calling government's "notoriously retarded organizations" is itself about the most retarded comment I've ever seen on Techdirt. There's nothing about government as an organization that makes it inherently brilliant nor stupid.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 4:53pm

        Re: Re:

        these are private entities so the legal conception of free speech doesn't really factor in to it

        No offense but that's probably the dumbest thing i've ever read. I'm actually fairly certain I lost a few IQ points processing it.

        I can tell you didn't think that through before you wrote it, but even then i'm still flabbergasted you wrote it. It's such a self-evidently stupid thing to say that not saying it wouldn't have required any thought... So i can only conclude that you were completely brain dead when you wrote it and just scribbling random words that in happenstance formed a one in a million 'stupidest sentence of the century'. You're a trophy winner alright.

        But again, no offense intended.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 4:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yikes, i really did lose a few IQ points because the sentence i was referring to was this one:

          Is their decision not to carry GTAV inhibiting Rockstar's free speech? Yes.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JP Jones (profile), 7 Dec 2014 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No offense but that's probably the dumbest thing i've ever read.

          This sentence made me laugh out loud. Heck, your whole post did.

          "You're a brain dead idiot...no offense."

          How could that not be taken as on offense!?

          Well played.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mattshow (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 2:24pm

    Also: I had no idea that Walmart didn't operate in Australia. The whole time I lived there, I assumed "Big W" was Walmart in disguise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 2:41pm

    In New Zealand 'the Wharehouse' ( big barn style shop, like Kmart, and in every town large and small) was going to stop stocking GTA, but realised it would be hypocritical to keep stocking other R18 titles so they removed them all. Their stand was "stocking that sort of stuff doesn't fit with our image as a family store".
    They are the biggest seller of music, games and movies in New Zealand, and if you live in a small town they're the only place to buy that stuff as they've long ago run the original record and games shop out of business.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/63487424/the-warehouse-to-pull-r18-games-dv ds

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 4:27pm

      Re:

      While incredibly stupid(adults are adults, treat them as such and let them determine what they want to watch/listen to/play), got to admit, at least they were honest enough to follow the argument through to it's conclusion and not do the hypocritical thing and remove one product while selling others just as 'bad'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 5 Dec 2014 @ 2:53pm

    Big deal, just go and buy it from one of the many games outlets that are all over the place. I very rarely buy anything from Target and KMart because they have a crap range of goods and their prices aren't that cheap anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      silverscarcat (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 3:35pm

      Re:

      Not everyone has that luxury. Live in a small town? Generally speaking, your only way of getting games is via the big box marts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pseudonym, 5 Dec 2014 @ 6:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Or Steam/XBox Live/PSN. Or mail order from EB Games. Or DVD stores, which most towns still have one of in Australia.

        Or, even more likely, play the copy that you already have. If you are the target market for GTA5, chances are pretty close to 100% that you already have it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2014 @ 4:46pm

      Re:

      Nice! You can't be bothered with basic thinking skills.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zeissmann (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 4:21pm

    Update

    Sounds like a real world application of a trademark dispute. Where are those lawyers when you actually need them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Eldakka (profile), 7 Dec 2014 @ 6:45pm

      Re: Update

      Not at all, Trademarks, like patents, are country specific. The US Kmart and Target do not have trademarks on those terms in Australia and have no rights over them. The Wesfarmers (NOT West Farmers) group owns the trademarks on those terms in Australia, and vice-versa, Wesfarmers has no ownership and no rights over those marks in the US.

      No trademark lawyer needed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 5 Dec 2014 @ 6:00pm

    next banning

    there is now a push to have them ban sales of the holy bible as it too is full of misogyny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    objective gamer, 5 Dec 2014 @ 6:39pm

    Glad to see techdirt is finally coming out against SJWs. If anyone is concerned at all with ethics in video game retailing, they will clearly see that these stores shouldn't have a choice in what they sell. So what if there are no male prostitutes in the game, and it is impossible to commit the same kind of sexual violence as you can against women? It should be about objectively whether the game is good. I'll be notifying techdirt's advertisers of how proud I am of its pro-GamerGate stance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pseudonym, 5 Dec 2014 @ 6:42pm

    Big whoop

    This is a big argument over nothing.

    Nobody buys games from Target. The game has been out for over a year. Anyone who would want a copy already has it, or knows where to get it. It's probably at the end of its run anyway.

    The hypocrisy is obvious (and expected), but don't pretend that anyone has been hurt by this decision. Target is allowed to sell or not sell whatever they want; I'm sure their DVD section doesn't carry a lot of Catherine Breillat or Lars von Trier, either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jay (profile), 5 Dec 2014 @ 7:51pm

    Something's off

    Okay, why do I feel that this is still off somewhat...?

    It's like something is missing which I can't quite understand.

    I don't know why a retail store is shooting themselves in the foot, but all this would do is push the purchases elsewhere. Why would they do this?

    The relationship that they have with digital stores as well as other retail stores means that people that want the game will get it, but unless they're very religious, I don't see a reason to ban the game from their stores and deprive the labor of eight studios practically out of nowhere.

    It's very odd indeed...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2014 @ 5:43am

    is in line with the majority view of our customers


    ...that some customers find offensive


    Oh, wait a second. I thought it was the majority, and now it's only some. Tripping over your own feet are you? That's what happens when you use emotion instead of logic and fact.

    And how do they know that majority view? Did they put it to a vote? Get their customers to tick a box, or use a touchscreen saying yes or no to the ban? Did they ask the target demographic or the older prudish generation? No. None of that. They wouldn't have got the result the censorious ideologues wanted.

    A rational person would tell these people to STFU and if they don't like it, don't F'n buy it! But we don't have rational people in charge on this planet.

    This is where feminists are taking gaming and why #gamergate is so important. Pretty soon there will not be allowed to be women in games at all, or if they are, the must not be beautiful so as not to 'objectify' them, they must not be attacked so there's no violence toward women, etc. etc. Then we'll have shitty games that don't sell and this will be proof that the games industry doesn't know how to make games for women.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2014 @ 5:53am

    Beat, maim, torture , kill men all you want. They don't matter. Don't you dare so much as look at a beautiful woman much less commit the same virtual violence against her as you can to the virtual men.

    BTW misandry does not exist. The world is NOT biased in favor of women.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2014 @ 7:57pm

      Re: Misandry does exist

      What little dark hole do you live in?

      Misandry does exist and is a lot more prevalent than one might think, though compared to misogyny, it is still minor.

      I have seen too much of each. If you are stupid enough to ignore the existence of either then you are just going to promulgate what you ignore. Both are a bane on society.

      The world is NOT biased in favour of most people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JP Jones (profile), 7 Dec 2014 @ 12:24pm

        Re: Re: Misandry does exist

        BTW misandry does not exist. The world is NOT biased in favor of women.

        Pretty sure this was being sarcastic.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2014 @ 4:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Misandry does exist

          You took it as sarcastic, I didn't.

          We'll only know if the OP indicates which position is the position he was coming from.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Sheogorath (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Misandry does exist

            You took it as sarcastic [...]
            As you also took somebody's statement out of context. If you'd read the whole comment from the beginning, the sarcasm inherent in it would have been as obvious to you as it was to me, and I'm also anti-misandry.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    richard40 (profile), 8 Dec 2014 @ 12:53pm

    I have a question for the GTA fans here. It is pretty clear that GTA allows players to engage in all kinds of violence, and I see no problem with that, since violence is a part of life. The question I have is does this violence have any consequences. For example, if you beat up or rape some inncoent, do any other charachters in the game try to arrest you or kill you for it, and do you attract enemies as a result. And does doing the right thing, like saving a crime victim, have any kind of reward. If you have good allies, are they more likely to look out for your back than really evil allies. If so, the game would not only be realistic, but even useful for teaching real life moral lessons. But if not, I think it should add that element, so young people are not taught that they can indulge in any mayham they wish without negative consequences arising from it. It would even make for a better game, since being good is sometimes less fun, and even more difficult, and should therefore deserve more rewards and less risk for doing it.

    I had a similar memory of D&D. Good charachters had a lot of rulebook restrictions on what they could do, while evil charachters did not, so it was often easier and more fun to be evil. The better DM's compensated for that by giving subtle advantages to the good charachters, like giving players permanent enemies when they did evil acts, and making good allies more reliable than evil ones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jay (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 12:51am

      Re:

      For example, if you beat up or rape some inncoent, do any other charachters in the game try to arrest you or kill you for it, and do you attract enemies as a result

      First of all, what in the hell caused you to think the game allows you to rape people?

      It's wanton violence, not sexual assault.

      Second, there are consequences to your actions as the police come to try to take you down as your wanted meter goes up.

      And does doing the right thing, like saving a crime victim, have any kind of reward.

      Yes, there's missions outside of the story plot along with other activities that go on besides the world revolving around your actions...

      If you have good allies, are they more likely to look out for your back than really evil allies

      This is just nonsense. Stop thinking in absolutes.

      If so, the game would not only be realistic, but even useful for teaching real life moral lessons.

      Great. Now go make that game or mod this one.

      But if not, I think it should add that element, so young people are not taught that they can indulge in any mayham they wish without negative consequences arising from it. It would even make for a better game, since being good is sometimes less fun, and even more difficult, and should therefore deserve more rewards and less risk for doing it.

      Or maybe you could look at the game and see what people are playing instead of going Professor Umbridge on everyone...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 5:09am

    It's just business. Like you point out Timothy, it isn't a moral decision by Target, it's a financial one.

    If you're aware it's a financial decision, and you're aware that Target doesn't actually care about the game content, why criticise their decision by pointing out that this decision doesn't make sense as a moral choice? Target doesn't appear to disagree with you...

    I personally don't agree with what Target's done, I've played the GTA games myself, and I think any adult should be able to, but please get facts straight: their complaint was not about violence in a general sense, it was only about SEXUAL violence.
    So the "there's violence against men too" doesn't hold any water, because there's no sexual violence against men in GTAV.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    richard40 (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:56am

    To Jay.
    "First of all, what in the hell caused you to think the game allows you to rape people?"
    Well, duh, the article we were all reading did, with the following quote: "The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'health' points. "
    But if you are telling me the game actually does not do that, and the SJW types who provided that quote were spouting nonsense, I am perfectly willing to take your word for it, since I am well aware that leftist SJW types like them constantly lie.

    "Second, there are consequences to your actions as the police come to try to take you down as your wanted meter goes up.".
    That is good. So there are at least some consequences in the game for committing criminal acts. But are there also rewards for doing violent criminal acts. Do those rewards greatly outweigh the consequences, if so then the game is still teaching an unrealistic lesson, that crime is rewarding over the long run. Then again, it is a fantasy game, not the real world. But I prefer even fantasy games to have real world consequences for bad actions that outweigh the enjoyment you get from doing them, not because I want to impose any morality, but because I prefer games that are realistic, or at least realistic within the constraints of their universe. Any game that rewards mayhem with little consequence, while providing little reward for doing anything good, is not very realistic.

    "This is just nonsense. Stop thinking in absolutes."
    Why the hostility. Its a pretty basic truism, from a long line of both history and fiction, that the evil overlord is normally just as bad for his own followers as to his enemies. There should be some incentive in the game for you to look for a gang that has at least some sense of ethics, not to impose moral lesons, but to make the game realistic.

    "Great. Now go make that game or mod this one."
    Well yes, obviously its their game, and they can do as they wish with it. I am not one of those fanatic SJW types who wants to censor anything. I am just making a suggestion for more realism. Whether the makers of the game, or the fans of the game, are interested in injecting that type of realism, is their business.

    "Or maybe you could look at the game and see what people are playing instead of going Professor Umbridge on everyone..."
    Again why the hostility, that is why I was asking the questions in my comment, to honestly find out. Then again, I know that gamers have been fighting the extreme leftie SJW censor types (and sometimes the moral majority types as well)for a long time now, so perhaps that is the reason for your hostility. I assure you I am not one of them, the way a game manufacturer makes their game is between them and the fans of the game, or if those fans are minors their parents as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 1:48am

    So you ^should^ apologise!

    After all, I'd believe anything of Walmart given the fact that they employ forced labour in the UK.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 2:23pm

    Regarding the Canada Ban Petition

    From the insider chat: So, who said "they're not going to take your games away" again? I'd like to punch that person in the throat.

    There will always be a they who wants to take your media away, whether it's objectionable books or objectionable movies or objectionable games. And whether it's due to graphic abuse of women, or the expression of gay relationships as an acceptable thing, or graphically realistic depiction of warfare.

    We tend to call such people extremists.

    I'm pretty sure that most of us Social Justice types are not looking to change all games into Gone Home or even Portal 2. Nor do we necessarily agree with the decision by Target, Australia to cease selling GTA5, any more than moderate Christians are determined to remove Heather Has Two Mommies or And Tango Makes Three from the shelves of B. Dalton or Barnes & Noble. There are extremists who are so determined to suppress any voices that disagree with them. And it is unfortunate in those times they get their way.

    Some people really just can't stand free expression. This is going to be the same with games as it is with literature or film or music. We just need to make sure that when titles get challenged, we are there to make sure the society continues to have access to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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