New Era Interactive Media, a Thai video game distributor, froze sales of Grand Theft Auto after a teenage gamer confessed to robbing and murdering a taxi driver while trying to recreate a scene from the controversial game. The 18-year-old high school student is currently in custody, charged with robbing and stabbing to death the 54-year-old taxi driver, and faces the death penalty.
“We are sending out requests today to outlets and shops to pull the games off their shelves and we will replace them with other games,” Sakchai Chotikachinda, sales and marketing director of New Era Interactive Media, told Reuters.
Police said the gamer was an obsessive GTA fan who confessed to committing the crime because of the game and showed no sign of mental problems during questioning. He told police he did not mean to kill the driver, but that he stabbed him to death when he fought back, newspapers reported.
Grand Theft Auto has often been criticized for depicting violence including beatings, carjackings, drive-by shootings, drunk driving and prostitution.
According to the Reuters story, a multi-million dollar lawsuit was filed in the U.S. state of Alabama against the designers, marketers and a retailer of Grand Theft Auto in 2005, claiming that months of playing the game led a teenager to kill two police officers and a 911 dispatcher.
Personally, I think these are extremely isolated cases who do not prove that violence in video games incites violence in real life. I wonder if anyone has ever made any connections between recent bombings, beatings, animal abuse etc. and this Tom & Jerry clip. Have you, Jack Thompson?
Sure, there should be some control over the type and degree of violence that’s depicted in video games, but actually linking criminal behavior to the content of the game? That’s just a bridge too far in my humble opinion.
What’s your opinion?