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Acceptable censorship?

Why are people so outraged about retailers pulling Grand Theft Auto V when the industry condones far more damaging censorship as a matter of routine?

Last week, two Australian retailers pulled Grand Theft Auto V from their shelves in response to a petition decrying sexual violence in the game. What I found interesting about the situation wasn't so much the news itself as the curiously strong reaction it drew, lighting up Twitter feeds and comments sections, including ours. The first GamesIndustry.biz story on the situation drew nearly 100 comments, the second pulled in about 50.

Compare that to the zero comments that greeted last month's news that Indian obscenity laws would prevent Dragon Age: Inquisition from releasing in the country. So what's the difference? Why are people so upset about two retailers choosing not to stock the poster child for controversy-courting games, but evidently apathetic about a billion people being denied the option to play another game held in almost universally high regard for vaguely defined obscenities? (Interesting side note: Grand Theft Auto V is readily available in India.) For an industry so vocal about even the faintest shadow of censorship, we're pretty damn complacent when it comes to the genuine article.

"As far as censorship goes, this may be the least harmful, least effective strain of it you can find."

Yes, Grand Theft Auto V is a hyperviolent game, and its removal from some retailers is censorship of a form. Not the government-mandated, legally binding form of censorship, or the sort of censorship that will actually keep interested people from finding and buying the game, but it is a private institution removing one route of access to a title because it objects to the content within. And yes, Target Australia and K-Mart Australia are well within their rights to do that. As far as censorship goes, this may be the least harmful, least effective strain of it you can find.

Compare that to the situation with Dragon Age: Inquisition in India, or the industry-approved censorship that has shaped the console and mobile markets for years. Apple in particular has been heavy-handed with what sort of games it allows on the iPhone and iPad, deciding that people who use its products shouldn't have access to educational games about female masturbation, games that use nudity to help get across a worthy message, games based on current events, or titles that criticize sweatshop production methods and smartphone makers like Apple in particular.

"We view Apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate," Apple says in its App Store Review Guidelines. "If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical App."

And if that weren't enough to show how little Apple values freedom of speech, just a few lines later in the guidelines, the company is nakedly threatening those who run afoul of its policies--those whose speech it has already silenced--to stay silent.

"If your App is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to," Apple says. "If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."

"How many of the people furious about the Grand Theft Auto V situation own iPhones? How many developers see the company's behavior for what it is and then support the platform anyway?"

My problem isn't so much that Apple won't let these games on its virtual shelves. Like Target Australia and K-Mart Australia, Apple is a private company and can choose what products it will offer through its store. My problem is that this is accepted by the industry as a whole. How many of the people furious about the Grand Theft Auto V situation own iPhones? How many developers see the company's behavior for what it is and then support the platform anyway? How much of the principled outrage we have seen this week doesn't apply to Apple? How much is rationalized by thoughts like, "But it's a really cool phone..." or "But it's such a large potential audience..."?

And then there's the censorship the North American scene has been built on for 20 years. I don't want to disparage the Entertainment Software Rating Board too sharply, as it offers a valuable, practical service to parents in doling out ratings. However, it is also the cornerstone in a carefully constructed system that has put the power of censorship in the hands of the group running a technically voluntary rating system.

In the wake of 1993's Congressional hearings into video game violence, the Interactive Digital Software Association (which would change its name to the Entertainment Software Association we have today) founded the ESRB to provide a much-needed industry-wide ratings system. That initial system had five categories, with the most objectionable content receiving an AO for Adults Only rating.

In theory, creators could still make whatever games they wanted; they just had to warn customers as to the content. In practice, the rating was a sham. Virtually every major retailer had a policy against carrying AO-rated or unrated games. And even if they didn't, platform holders like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all forbade third-party partners from releasing AO games on their platforms.

The ESRB has assigned well over 38,000 ratings in the past 20 years, but its database only contains 41 AO entries. And of those, the only one to enjoy any sort of commercial success was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which was an M-rated title before the "Hot Coffee" sex minigame was found hidden in the code and the ESRB changed its mind.

And let's be honest; the San Andreas re-rating was absurd. It was an inaccessible minigame with pantomimed sex between two characters who remained clothed the entire time, in a game that used violence and language to push metaphorical buttons as frequently as the players were pushing literal ones. So yes, there's a line that can't be crossed for a game to remain M for Marketable, but good luck trying to figure out exactly where that is. The new release of Grand Theft Auto V, with its first-person point-of-view prostitution scenes, would seem to be every bit as lurid or objectionable as the Hot Coffee-equipped San Andreas, yet there it is, proudly sporting its financially friendly M for Mature.

"It's surprising that such an obviously creative industry would collectively exhibit such a paucity of imagination in these matters."

Target and K-Mart pulling Grand Theft Auto V from sale did not prevent Take-Two from making the game. It does not prevent interested people from purchasing and playing the game. Take-Two has said the recent flap has had no effect on its business, not even to push Australian gamers to download the game instead of finding it at another retailer.

Compare that to Apple's App Store guidelines or the AO rating, which prevent developers from making games for entire segments of the industry. Admittedly, these problems could become less of a concern over time. Digital distribution is making it ever-so-slightly more viable to sell games with the kind of content that would draw an AO rating, and one would hope Apple could come around on games as a medium capable of substance and not just diversion.

It's surprising that such an obviously creative industry would collectively exhibit such a paucity of imagination in these matters. We aren't worried about all the ideas that never get explored because of the ways the App Store and the current ratings system operate, but we're terrified that Grand Theft Auto V and Rockstar could have their free speech impaired somehow because one group of people found their games objectionable, and another group of people agreed and decided to stop selling them in response.

Rather than work to overturn the ban on AO games or change Apple's mind, to carve out the slightest possibility of commercial viability for outsiders making truly different experiences--the people whose free speech is the least assured or supported in the current system--we are energized to stand up for one of the most financially successful games of all time. If money is a form of free speech (and in the US, it literally is), then Grand Theft Auto V does not need our vigorous defense. It has all the soapboxes and megaphones it will ever need. Instead, our anger and our outrage is better directed at reforming a system to allow voices for those who have none.

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Latest comments (28)

Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 5 years ago
The difference with the recent australian one is that petitions were involved.
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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 5 years ago
For me personally I could identify with the Australian situation more, as I get the sense that we are culturally similar here in the UK and the same pressures could easily cause a similar incident here, so yeah mainly it my own self interest that pulled me towards the Australian story over the Indian one
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend5 years ago
Why are people so outraged about retailers pulling Grand Theft Auto V when the industry condones far more damaging censorship as a matter of routine?
I would say it is because of a constant stream of gamer-hating that has gone on for a long time and I guess gamers are getting sick of it. GTA V is arguably the most popular game of all time and has won many awards, with the Australian government passing it through their tough parameters. There are many people who love this game, it is the Star Wars of the games industry.

Then comes along a bogus petition which has 10% truth and 90% bullshit even though the message itself is not a bad one, so people quite rightly are like "Really?? can't you all just piss off and let me consume the entertainment I want to consume???". I would say there is a large amount of that in it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 11th December 2014 4:23pm

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Show all comments (28)
The difference with the recent australian one is that petitions were involved.
So, the real problem here isn't 'censorship', but rather 'people complaining about things I like'?

Well, that changes everything.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 5 years ago
And the fact that it was "feminists" that "forced" GTA V to be pulled from two insignificant retailers (in world terms, no offence intended to Kmart or Target) has of course nothing to do with it. The fact that it does raise issues about the industries dependency on third party retailers, the forced self-censorship, allegedly artificially high digital prices, effects of second hand games on single player games, no nipples in games (makes me a sad panda), can all be easily ignored as we target those pesky irritating whiners that should be in the kitchen making a sandwich. In a french maid's outfit.

Perhaps (and only perhaps) that is an unfair criticism on most commentators, but it is no more than continuation of the effects of the crap that surrounds #gamergate. I don't think anyone could really argue with that, even those that support the non-feminist bashing areas that #gamergate touches upon.

Take the NZ retailer that removed GTA and all R18 games and DVDs because of GTA, no one mentions it at all. It wasn't a story here, and no one cares. Even in TotalBiscuit's commentary it says that they removed it because of the petition, but it happened before and may even have been one of the influences that started the petition. But as it has nothing to do with perceived feminist influence, it isn't news.

Pretty much no one was interested in discussing the issues I brought up about toy shops or retailers that are disgusted by the content of the game selling GTA, instead preferring to shout "ITS CENSORSHIP!!!" and also everyone is happier criticising the wording of the petition rather than looking at the bigger picture, in which the petition can easily be ignored.

I would say that the current shape of the retail of games is just not sustainable. The marketplace is changing and I don't think that conservatism will be the best approach. Mobile platforms have decided to take a "friendly for everyone approach", which I don't like but I can accept (children and minors can easily get a hold of mobile devices, and I suppose Apple and Google are looking for a squeaky clean reputation as they try to muscle in on every market in the world in every possible sector). Android users at least have access to third party stores and stuff like Mikandi though from what I have seen these are not very high quality content, and free flash games on the internet seem far better, and more varied.

Apple have always been the most controlling company that I have seen, and hid effectively behind the mask of "we are not evil Microsoft" while preventing any kind of competition internally with their products (which has allowed them to keep high R&D costs and churn fantastic products, compared to say Sony who also produced quality products but needed to compete with companies that produce exactly the same internals with less well designed and cheaper accessories). However much I don't like many aspects of their marketing and how easily so many people have bought into it without ever thinking about how it actually works, it is effective at supplying excellent equipment and culture changing products. In that sense, it is hard to criticise them.

By games for consoles need a new seller, or a range of them that service different sectors. And discussion within the industry about how it can be acheived would be useful, and the outrage generated by GTA in Australia is directly counter to creating a situation which would allow this. Too many people are too happy with the status quo it would appear.
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Enrique Echeagaray Programmer 5 years ago
@Andrew Watson
The difference with the recent australian one is that petitions were involved.
To be precise, because of a bogus petition, not a regular one.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Enrique Echeagaray on 11th December 2014 5:07pm

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Andre Kling David 3D Artist, Social Point SL5 years ago
I believe that timing has alot to do with the outrage. The gamergate stories are not that far from now, and i believe many ppl see this as a result of it.
Apple is an entire different stofy, its dictatorship, if you complain too loud it can hit you in the head. We are an industry in the end, and we need to make money, so sometimes you have to take that bad pill.
I believe the Australian incident has more to do with marketing campaing than censorship itself, and in the case of India, well thats censorship as it guets but its something that the people from India has to deal with since its their country rules.
As much as i hate censorship i also believe that we cant dictate how other countries do their rules... I hope they change but its in their hands not in our industry.
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Charles Herold Wii Games Guide, about.com5 years ago
I think one reason the GTA decision is getting more attention is simply because GTA games have been a target for years. They're the frontline battle. We expect these games to be attacked, so when they are, we're ready.

In terms of the India thing, I think it's because the outraged people are mainly white and relate to predominantly white, English-speaking Australia while seeing India as a big mysterious land of brown people they can't relate to. It sounds a little harsh to put it like that, but I think I'm right.

As for the Apple thing, I have no explanation for why people are so loathe to criticize Apple. Apple fans are a little culty.
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Jim Perry Programmer, head geek of indie studio Mach X Games 5 years ago
@Enrigue Echeagaray
To be precise, because of a bogus petition, not a regular one.
What exactly is a bogus petition? Is it someone impersonating someone else?
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 5 years ago
So, the real problem here isn't 'censorship', but rather 'people complaining about things I like'?

Well, that changes everything.
Your snark aside, yes, it does -- all of the other examples on the article were various companies/governments/etc choosing themselves that they didn't want to sell X. You know, the sorts of places that people can't really sway through popular opinion.

But the fact that a petition (which, as Enrique pointed out, is mostly full of lies) was able to push a distributor to stop selling something just because they got loud enough? Well what's stopping people from making even more bogus petitions just to get what they want?

That difference is huge and if you can't understand that then you've completely missed the point why this is a big deal and should do some more research.
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James Berg Games User Researcher 5 years ago
Australia's reasoning could happen anywhere - group of consumers complained, and changed the marketplace. India's could not - the government banned it because of it's portrayal of gay folks, which just wouldn't fly in other western countries. One of those things is within a normal person's influence, the other is not.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development5 years ago
So, the real problem here isn't 'censorship', but rather 'people complaining about things I like'?
The difference here is that in one case existing laws were in place to control something, and in the other, the censorship was as a result of a minority enforcing their will on the majority.

Government = Majority
Bunch of angry people with nowt better to do = Minority

That's not a subtle difference.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 11th December 2014 7:02pm

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 5 years ago
Government = Majority
Bunch of angry people with nowt better to do = Minority
That is not a true representation of the facts.

DA:I not published because of unspecified fears (but certainly not same gender relationships according to the press release) over the game falling foul of morality laws in India does not simplify down to banned by government, much less the will of the majority.

Down under, three retailers pulled GTA. One completely on their own due to the content, one after a petition aimed at them and after consulting with their customers, and one after the publicity of the other two pulling the game and the petition, but again on the content of the game and not due to customer pressure. The fact that so many blame the petition alone does not fit the facts. The apparent conservative nature of the Australian public or retailers is not taken into account, nor is the fact that the game is horrifically violent and even aside from whether someone agrees with the arguments made in the petition could still want to see it not in department stores, or the fact that petitions also raise publicity and awareness and allow individuals and companies to make their decisions without any undue influence, the companies - if they did want to keep selling it - were not willing to publicly state so or support the game. Nor did Target or Kmart claim that they felt forced to do so by political pressure, something that would have both pleased those that wanted the game out (by removing it) and given a sop to those that wanted it still sold (we are on your really). The fact that they did not points to the fact they were happy to do so once they reviewed the situation. One petition does not constitute a vicious campaign that left the company with simply no alternative.

For example, was Nelson Mandela in prison for most of his life just because he didn't realise that a petition would have ended apartheid? Because of course, it forces people to do what they don't otherwise want to. Or perhaps, it does not force anyone or anything, but only raises awareness and publicity. But I am sure that is crazy talk.
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Enrique Echeagaray Programmer 5 years ago
@Enrigue Echeagaray

What exactly is a bogus petition? Is it someone impersonating someone else?
I'm not sure if you are serious or not, but according to "dictionary.reference.com":

Bogus:
adjective
1.
not genuine; counterfeit; spurious; sham.

Not sure why you choose that meaning given the context, surely there is another one more suitable.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Enrique Echeagaray on 11th December 2014 7:51pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 5 years ago
The difference is that when Apple do it everyone recognizes its censorship and then accept there's nothing much that can be done
Yeah. And yet, out of the two situations, Apple's is a) worse, b) more appropriately called "censorship" and c) something that the entire industry could do something about. It is, as Target is, a business, and thus open to the same pressures as that retailer.

Perhaps someone should start a petition against Apple. I hear they have a lot of power.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th December 2014 9:16pm

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
If a single entity of commerce refuses to distribute a product, an opinion, or knowledge, then censorship does not apply. You would not tell your mom and pop store at the corner what to sell and not sell, the same applies to stores and chains with an ubiquitous presence in society. Domestic authority!

If there is a coordinated effort of the controlling parts of a society to withhold a product, an opinion, or knowledge from the populace, then there is a chance for censorship; depending on the country you live in. In the case of a dictatorship, you are merely being treated according to your status, the replaceable cog of a machine only in service and accountable to its master, the dictator (or king, warlord, whatever). If you are part of a society in which the populace itself is the governing body, by proxy of elected representatives, then there is still a common ground on the topic of which products, opinions and knowledge are withheld and/or regulated. Even then, just because something is legal does not mean you can force somebody to trade it at the thread of calling it censorship should he decline. Closed platforms do not get to be open platforms by popular vote, or opportunistic desire.

Naturally, Rockstar has a tendency to push the limits in a very 70ies exploitation cinema style. They are not shy to hype the hyperviolence of Manhunt to a degree where it is abundantly clear that this is a game glorifying unspeakable transgressions and then belittle it just enough as being "just a game" to demand getting a free pass by the law, distributors and points of sale. Most societies are enlightened enough to give Rockstar a pass on producing and trying to distribute those games. But Rockstar should not act surprised, or cry foul, if somebody refuses to distribute their games. After all, that is a retailers freedom of choice in the face of a product, even if it is random and the retailer in question still sells the same degree of violence under a different product name. There is no law against hypocrisy either.

Rockstar is probably prototyping an interactive CIA torture 'documentary' as we speak. The marketing plan is to to leverage the fact of the game being banned in Germany and Australia.
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Anthony Chan5 years ago
Simply put, the reason GTA (and not India) got more attention and drew more controversy, those who speak for it do not like the group that speaks against it.

I feel most of the people who take strong sides on this issue will not admit it, but they post because it is an issue that goes beyond gaming or censorship (real issues in gaming!) - it's about personal ideals and social values relating to gender. I can take a list of names who are strongly against what transpired in Australia and compare it to the list that is in support of, and we can see the same list of people making the same strong stances for and against issues such as harassment of women in gaming, or gamergate, etc.

So Brendan, while I do appreciate your commentary and love your articles (can't help but liking a fellow Canadian), I can't help but feel this was a troll article to pull the same people out of their holes to ignite their fire. The people who so adamantly for or against are not fighting about a game, but their personal ideals and social values. This is about politics and sociology. Not gaming.


PS. Recently a lot of GI articles are taking a slant (albeit in most cases slight but still there) on highly charged political issues that happen to also be in gaming. I come to read industry updates, sales figures, trends, new techology, and such. I understand gender biased violence, harrassment, equality, gamergate, etc are important topics and I have tried to post comments that take neutral stands but focus on the actual issues - i.e. violence (without the gender slant), harassment and bullying (without the focus on or victimization of women). I recognize women are often the target in the majority of cases, and you would argue you are reporting on an issue. I don't want to brush this under a rug and I do feel that the issues are relevant, however, not with such prevalence on this site. This is an industry mag and as such, you should not take sides nor publish views on such polarized political issues. We get enough political commentary on multiple facets of life, gender equality and respect are sugh prevalent issues in more than just one social aspect. Hopefully we can avoid the polarization here, and commenting can go back to gaming; its development, its challenges, and the industry's successes and failures. Anyways my 2 cents.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Anthony Chan on 11th December 2014 11:00pm

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Shane Sweeney Academic 5 years ago
This really is an Australian issue and looking it through other cultural lenses isn't really doing the issue justice. Polygon did a really good opinion piece that I hope is okay to link here.
http://www.polygon.com/2014/12/11/7376223/grand-theft-auto-australia-target

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 11th December 2014 11:54pm

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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 5 years ago
The whole article is based on a false dichotomy: it is possible to care about all those incidents of "censorship" and indeed the industry has. At the same time there's significant differences between democratic countries enforcing their laws ( Germany and their anti-Nazi Symbolism laws. Australia's age ratings etc.) and misinformed petitions that spread falsehoods. That does not mean we have to agree with those laws (e.g. India's) but it can't be compared. Apple...well, they're a semi-monopolist that deems papers, please pornographic...it sucks, but it's been the topic of discussion before, so I don't think "yes x, but why aren't you all outraged about y?!" is completely warranted.

In any case, I don't think outrage is a very constructive response, it's just useful for the media and gives us that warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of our stomach...
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 5 years ago
As others before me have said. There simply is a huge difference in the cases. It doesn't have much to do with censorship itself. It has more to do with others not only complaining about what others like, but actually being spiteful, and misleading about it and getting it taken out of stores.

@Kenny
" The fact that so many blame the petition alone does not fit the facts. "

GTA has been in target for a while now. So to say it wasn't due to the petition is entirely false and does not fit the facts. Even if target had planned to pull the game all along, the petition still did occur. Doesn't change the fact that it happened.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 12th December 2014 3:32am

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I think the general point is people the world over are sick and tired of having things decided for them by people who they wouldn't trust to even take out their garbage, mostly in response to a bunch of busy bodies of self-righteous and often morally inept nature in and of themselves who's disproportionately sized voice is far to often listened to over the individual adult's right to choose, people like apple and all those american and Australian stores are "enablers" letting these types get away with running roughshod over the right of self-determination, the internet is the great equaliser to such things, providing up to now unknown choice to consumers.

Even apple will eventually suffer greatly for its incorrect decisions of today, no company is above reproach, and the young adult's having their choices taken away today will be the consumer's, lawmaker's and so on of tomorrow, and if history shows anything people are vengeful, especially in their discretionary spending habit's, sure for now apple has a strong base, for it has little in the way of direct competition, nokia moved far to slow, and fell over, microsoft was also to slow, and will be a while before it offers serious threat again, blackberry failed to adapt fast enough and so on, and google's lack of a star official series of phones (in an attempt to not alienate other companies using android, which alas is just letting some of them say samsung to try to make its own ecosystem fragmenting things even further unchallenged) damages its coherence. there is no up and coming cult hardware manufacturer about right now, but there will be, probably at about the worst possible time for the everyone else.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 5 years ago
@Brook
At what point did I question the reality of the petition? Of course that the petition happened is a fact. In the part that you quoted it clearly says "those who blame the petition alone" a nuance that seems to be entirely lost on you. And you have answer one part of the argument that I have put forward, one that you have clearly misunderstood and ignored the rest.

Can you show me what proof there is that, the publicity surrounding the new first person mode in the next gen console version was not the causal factor for the retailers pulling the game from the shelves and the petition instead the petition alone being the causal factor? I fail to see where you have established that the petition was the root cause and not a product of the effect of the game on a conservative public.In fact I fail to see where you have established anything rather than simply put forth your opinion that the petition was untruthful, spiteful, deceitful, ethically wrong, and harmful ad naseum without ever answering those that disagree with you.

Edit: that last paragraph made absolutely no sense whatsoever, my apologies to anyone that is offended by poor grammar.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kenny Lynch on 12th December 2014 10:31am

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 5 years ago
I can't help but feel this was a troll article to pull the same people out of their holes to ignite their fire.
While our reaction was sadly somewhat predicable (I include myself wholly in this), I think the aim of the article was not to give us all the opportunity to have same argument again, only more bitterly as we are more entrenched now in our positions.

(Though I must demand to know, does Brendan Sinclair own or have a financial investment a Popcorn manufacturer? I demand FULL DISCLOSURE!!!)

I think the point of the article was to encourage us to reflect inwardly and question our own ideas and convictions, to take our opinions out of the context conflict with those that disagree with us and objectively look at them. Yeah, I know, dude must be trippin'.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 5 years ago
@Kenny
I fail to see where you have established that the petition was the root cause and not a product of the effect of the game on a conservative public.
Cause and effect. If someone lights something on fire in a forest, and later there is a forest fire, you would usually link the two together. Why? Cause it's common sense and the most likely case scenario. When in reality, for all we know the forest fire could have actually been causes by something else entirely, but that is just speculation.

That is what you are doing. You are speculating it was not only caused by the petition even though it's pretty clear that it was based on what happened. At the end of the day, your speculation means nothing because you have 0 proof for it at all. While on my end. The fact Target directly responded about the petition itself is proof in itself. The game was in their store prior to the petition. I really don't see how you can still disagree.

Now if we are talking about other stores, I have absolutely no proof. In fact, the petition may have not been the cause at all in the other stores. Which is fine. That isn't even the issue, but you sure do like to keep going back to it as if it is.

With that said. I don't blame the petition entirely as well, censorship and poor judgement by the company could also be to blame. Though I still think the petition was the largest contributing factor. However, as I said, it's speculation. I can't prove any of that was part of the reason. But we can prove the petition was.
In fact I fail to see where you have established anything rather than simply put forth your opinion that the petition was untruthful, spiteful, deceitful, ethically wrong, and harmful ad naseum without ever answering those that disagree with you.
Let me ask you this. Why should I not be able to buy GTA5 at target because some small vocal minority decided to throw a tantrum? The petition itself was spiteful. It doesn't take much proof. The fact it exists proves it. If I petition for target to take a book out of a store. The only reason for me to do such a thing is out of spite. Since I don't like it, I don't want anyone else to like it or read it. It's ethically wrong because what games others but should not be up to other people who don't happen to like that particular game. How would you like if from now on, I control what stores don't sell certain games based on which ones I don't like?

I don't see how you don't see taking away a persons freedom is not morally wrong. I should be free to buy the game I like with out question. My opinion should have 0 effect on what games you or anyone else should be able to buy from a store.

Also . .I answered the portion I wanted to answer. Do you have some problem with that? Am I suppose to answer and refute every thing you say? I can't just respond to a portion of it? Honestly, I think your awfully rude.

Also your very statement applies to you too. It's your opinion, and you have yet to put fourth a good argument in favor of your opinion.

We can go back and fourth with this all day. Let's just leave it at, we have very differing opinions on what is right and wrong.
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Andre Kling David 3D Artist, Social Point SL5 years ago
I wonder why until today, video game, the bigest entretainment industry, doesnt have the same respect as film, books or music?
As an industry we should fight for the respect the other medias has.
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Brendan Sinclair North American Editor, GamesIndustry.biz5 years ago
@Anthony - I certainly didn't set out to troll people. Usually when I write an editorial on recent events, I do it because I think there's something I can contribute to the discussion, some point or perspective that I feel hasn't received enough attention. In this case, I wanted to highlight two forms of censorship (App Store and AO ratings) that I think have gone largely unquestioned in the industry for way too long, rather than join the chorus of people saying the Target and Kmart "bans" were silly. I also wanted to suggest that if the anger surrounding this issue really stems from concern for free speech in games, there are better places to direct our efforts.

I think the near-absence of comments engaging with either the App Store or AO ratings points validates my belief that those two areas have not received enough attention, but also tells me I pretty much failed in getting people to consider them more seriously.

@Kenny - I have no financial stake in the popcorn industry. As with any savvy investor, all my money is tied up in orange juice futures.
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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 5 years ago
@Brendan

The thing is, I don't think the amount of comments a subject creates is an accurate measure. If you read the comments it becomes clear the Target/Kmart story creates a lot of them not because of the "censorship/free speech" aspect, but the fact that a petition can have such an impact when it's riddled with factual inaccuracies and a gross suppression of context. Apple's policies on the other hand are not news anymore, there's been too many examples already. I assume they're easier to accept because they represent harsh, but predictable rules, whether you agree with them or not. If apple had censored Papers, Please because of nudity when there was no actual nudity in the game, that would be compareable, and I think it'd create compareable reactions.

Additionally, I agree that it's important to keep an eye on the big picture and prioritize, but the argument "there are better places to direct our efforts" is a very dangerous one; It's often true, but at the same time humanity has the capability to focus on more than the world's single greatest problem, so it's legitimate to write a comment or two about smaller ones (else we really shouldn't be making video games or debating them in the first place).
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises5 years ago
Why the outrage? Because one group of people are trying to force their moral values onto another group of people.
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