Take-Two on Grand Theft Auto V Removal: If It’s Offensive to You, Then Don’t Buy It

Last week, both Target and Kmart in Australia took Grand Theft Auto V down from the shelves “following feedback from customers about the game’s depictions of violence against women.” At the time, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said, “I stand behind our products, the people who create them, and the consumers who play them.”

During a presentation at the BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference today (via Games Industry), Take-Two President Karl Slatoff offered up his opinion on the removal of GTAV from store shelves in Australia, calling the situation disappointing, while also saying it won’t affect them too much:

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. 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 V], 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.

In terms of whether or not the removal of GTAV from those stores led to an increase of digital sales in Australia, Slatoff said “the Australia situation is disappointing on many levels,” but added there hadn’t been any uptick yet.

Calling Australia a “relatively small” market for them, and Target and Kmart “relatively small in the context of Australia,” Slatoff continued by saying, “There are other places for folks to buy Grand Theft Auto in Australia.”

[Source: Games Industry]