Take-Two's chairman, Strauss Zelnick, has spoken in defence of videogames, claiming that the Web, movies and even literature are worse candidates for exposing children to inappropriate content.
Speaking at the recent Reuters summit, he opined, "It is still much easier to get into an R-rated movie than to buy an M-rated video game.
"At the same time that same consumer could go on the Internet... and you can see the most graphic, craven images of sex and violence that you can see."
SPOnG's sure that Zelnick didn't actually mean "craven" (i.e. cowardly). Graven, maybe? He has a point though.
Zelnick also mentioned his appearance in front of a congressional subcommittee looking into violence in games back in September. He was critical of the limited scope of the subcommittee's approach, saying, "The topic of what's readily available on the Internet did not even come up. I could send my 9-year-old daughter to a book store and she can buy any book in Barnes and Noble no matter how vivid the content is."
Strauss makes a very valid point in terms of censorship. SPOnG can only assume that literature doesn't carry age ratings because kids don't bother reading any more. Or, more likely, for some reason society only views violent imagery in media to be damaging, with written violent content apparently being inoffensive - or outright banned.
Of course, Zelnick is all in favour of companies acting responsibly in terms of violence in the media. "I think it's possible to be controversial and edgy and also to act appropriately and that's what they aim to do," he said. "I think what is not appropriate in any way is for consumers to be misled."
Ah, so games should carry some sort of recommendation as to what sort of audience they're appropriate for? Thanks, Strauss...
Zelnick's final defence of the output of his company / freedom of artistic expression comes in the form of an indirect attack on the recently incredibly quiet Jack Thompson
, "Do we really believe that people get instructed on being murderers? I don't believe those are created by any form of entertainment."
This all comes in the same week that Take-Two subsidiary Rockstar took its appeal of the UK Manhunt 2
ban to the Video Appeals Committee. You can read SPOnG's coverage of the appeal here