GTA 5 has consistently been one of the most popular video games around. Of late, it even ranked as one of the most sold games of all time, after having crossed a purported milestone of 140 million sold copies, and counting. However, a new, proposed regulation by an American politician wants to put a stop to the game’s growth and popularity, and set precedent for the rest of the world to follow as well. According to USA’s Republican Marcus Evans Jr of Illinois, games such as GTA 5 promote “psychological harm” and “carjacking”, and therefore qualify as content that promotes violence in the society – both among adults and juniors. As a result, Evans is now calling for a ban on GTA 5, further labelling it as a “huge issue”, among other things.
While going after GTA 5 and its portrayal of violence in the game, Evans is also pushing for an amendment in United States laws to redefine what constitutes a “violent” video game, and would therefore qualify for a ban. According to his proposed amendment, a violent video game would qualify as one that allows gamers to “control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence, in which the player kills – or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm – to another human or an animal.” In essence, if Evans’ proposal is sanctioned by the United States government, it would wipe out a massive, overwhelming majority of the video game industry, which features combats in some form or another, even in non-action genre video games.
This is not the first claim of its kind made in USA, or elsewhere in the world. In China, the government initially imposed a ban on PUBG Mobile, stating that the game was too violent to be allowed to propagate within the masses. This led to PUBG Corp redeveloping the game as ‘Game For Peace’, which masked aspects such as gunshots and deaths in the game. After the game was banned in India, the country’s top child protection body also highlighted that games such as these should remain banned because they promote violence, and this in turn affects the mindset of children in particular. Many reports over time have also made such similar claims, stating that games promoting warfare and combat have an adverse effect on those playing them.
Rockstar Games, or its holding company Take Two Interactive, are yet to issue any statement in response to the legislation filed by Evans. Even the Entertainment Software Association, one of the biggest holding bodies in the realm of gaming in the world, have not issued any statement basis the claims made. It remains to be seen how the legislation is approached in the coming days. If it is indeed put into action, it may jeopardise the global gaming industry that is presently worth billions of dollars.