Retail Game Salesman Calls Out Parents on GTA V Sales


Kotaku has always done great work, but allowing a Video Game retail salesman to speak out on their site was awesome. He speaks out by saying that he saw entirely too many parents buying copies of the M rated Grand Theft Auto 5 for their young children.

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.

It’s an age old discussion, how do we censor, should we censor? Should we keep certain themes, images or content away from children? Most importantly, what more can be done to properly inform parents and guardians to the content of the games they purchase for their excited and impatient child? Well, this salesman is doing everything he can think of. Rather than just reading the ESRB from the back of the box he’s using specific examples from the game, such as a scene where your character must torture someone or scenes that depict a half-naked stripper to make the realities of the game more apparent. I commend him for his effort but he says he is often disregarded or waved off by both the parents and the community.

In response, I often hear things like, “Oh, it’s for my older son” or “All his friends already have it.” Then I wonder to myself how often the youngest child watches the “older son” playing and if “all his friends” were to jump off a cliff…

So while we can all agree that titles Saints Row, GTA and Call of Duty have their own artistic and entertainment value, we have to be aware of the impact that may have on younger generations. Parents disregard expert advice or just give in to their children to give themselves a few minutes of well deserved piece. The game clerk even tells of other gamers who say things like “I played violent games when I was younger and I turned out fine”. We as a community shouldn’t support that kind of rhetoric, that seems to ignore the possible implications of the violence and adult themes in our games. It makes it easier for parents or grandparents who are just trying to get something their child wants to disregard advice that could potentially save their child a lot of harm.

A particularly violent scene fro Call of Duty Black Ops

This man has done a lot to help children, whether spotting them a few bucks for a copy of Minecraft or helping them find the Pokemon title they’ve been looking for. He’s even taken the time to write a letter to Kotaku to hopefully open some eyes, and I thought it was an important and relevant story. So whether you are a parent yourself, an older sibling or a video game salesman consider your actions and try to make the best choice for whatever young life you can have an influence on. We are gamers, yes, but we are a community with immense responsibility and that’s not something to be taken lightly.

If you’d like to read the whole letter, and I recommend you do, You can find it here.