The controversial and violent video game Grand Theft Auto is rated “M,” meaning that only gamers age 17 or older are allowed to buy it. But according to one video store clerk’s observations, about 10 percent of the game’s sales are to parents of children “who could barely even see over my counter.”
The latest version of the game, Grand Theft Auto V, which was released on September 17, took a mere three days to top the $1 billion mark is sales.
The game has been criticized for its ultra-violent imagery including scenes of torture as well as for misogyny and anti-Semitism. In the game, players adopt the point of view of violent criminals robbing and killing whoever or whatever falls in their way.
The game may appeal to an adolescent sense of rebellion, but the leading investor in the Take-Two Interactive Software, the company that makes the game, is corporate raider Carl Ichan. With 12.6 percent of the company’s shares, no one stands to make more profit off of the lurid, sensational game than Ichan whose personal worth is reportedly around $20 billion.
So whose money is going into Ichan’s very deep pockets?
“Last week my store sold over a thousand copies of GTA V, at least a hundred of which were sold to parents for children who could barely even see over my counter,” wrote “Your Average Video Game Retail Veteran” on the gaming web site Kotaku.
But why would parents knowingly buy a game in which players get to pull off violent armed robberies, run prostitution rings, yank teeth out of torture victims and commit other acts of mayhem, for youngsters who may have only recently learned to read?
“I often hear things like, ‘Oh, it's for my older son’ or ‘All his friends already have it,’” wrote the anonymous video retailer.
In his post, the retailer said that he takes pains to describe the game to parents, telling them that the game features “a first-person view of half-naked strippers or ... a mission that forces you to torture another human being.”
But when he does, he is met with parental apathy, he wrote.
“I don't tell you these things because I don't like your parenting style,” the retailer continued. “It is because, when I look at little Timmy there in my store, I can't help but picture him as the little boy sitting across the table from my daughter in her first grade class.”
SOURCES: Kotaku, Forbes, The Guardian