Spilling Hot Coffee? Grand Theft Auto as contested cultural product
Kerr, Dr. Aphra (2006) Spilling Hot Coffee? Grand Theft Auto as contested cultural product. In: UNSPECIFIED McFarland Press: Jefferson, North Carolina.
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) games are highly successful, in terms of sales, and their content is part of an explicit business strategy which aims to exploit the latest technologies and platforms to develop content aimed at adult game players in certain markets. By all accounts this has been a highly successful strategy with the GTA franchise selling more than 30 million units across platforms by 2004, even before Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA SA) was launched in late 2004 (Take Two Interactive 2004). The latter was the top selling console game in the USA and in the top ten in the UK in 2005. At the same time the GTA series are arguably the most maligned of game products in many markets attracting much negative commentary and numerous legal actions in the USA. This chapter argues that the GTA case demonstrates a key tension within the cultural industries between the need to maximise sales globally and the need to conform to, or be seen to conform to, local distribution, social and moral systems. At the same time the story demonstrates that despite the widespread rhetoric of free trade and the dismantling of state sanctioned censorship systems in the USA, most parts of Europe and Australia, the censorship of cultural products continues and is perhaps a less overt, but nonetheless, highly political, socially negotiated and nationally specific process.
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