Grand Theft Auto V has been banned by two Australian retail chains due to the game's portrayal of violence against women. The retail chains in question, Target and Kmart, have done so at the request of customers who complained about the content.
Removing Grand Theft Auto V from store shelves will affect all 300 Target stores across Australia. It means that gamers will have to purchase the game from another retailer, or from an online entity such as Xbox Live Marketplace or PlayStation Network.
Jim Cooper, the general manager of all Target stores in Australia, made a statement on the company's website to explain why it had to make this drastic move.
"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," 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."
Kmart also announced that it is removing Grand Theft Auto V from its shelves.
"Following a significant review of all content in Grand Theft Auto games, Kmart has taken the decision to remove this product immediately," according to a report from Kotaku. "Kmart apologises for not being closer to the content of this game."
This isn't the first time a violent R-rated game has been banned in Australia, and it isn't the first time for a Grand Theft Auto video game. We suspect that as long as the future games in the franchise continue down the path it is on right now, Australia may never become a safe haven.
The big question, however, is whether or not Grand Theft Auto V's content is violence against women.
From our perspective, the developers did not deliberately create a game for the purpose of being violent toward women. It's a sandboxed title, which means the player can be violent to anyone within the game's world except for children. The game does not allow for attacking females only because then it would be considered as showing violence toward women.
Grand Theft Auto V isn't the only game where being violent to anyone is possible. This can be done in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and other titles in the franchise. From what we have seen on Target's website, the company is still selling the game. It goes to show that Target is being very hypocritical with its current move.
Wesfarmers Ltd., one of Australia's largest retail companies, owns both Kmart and Target. The game is rated R18+ in Australia, the highest classification rating for a video game, and is restricted to adults. The rating states material may contain elements that are high in impact and may be offensive to sections of the adult community.