Recently, the video games industry has been subject of more scrutiny than ever before. Pressure is mounting which threatens innovation within and surrounding the industry, yet 'rogue' games developer Rockstar Games, the catalyst for much of the negative opinion, continues to thumb it's nose at public opinion.
The website devoted to the upcoming next installment in the controversial game series Grand Theft Auto contains a thinly veiled attack on Rockstar/Take2 Interactive's biggest critic, anti-pornography anti-violence campaigner Jack Thompson. 'Fake' email messages on the site from 'JT' infer that the Miami based lawyer surfs the internet for porn and also encourage readers to visit a fake website (reportedly funded by Rockstar) which encourages deviance and the name of which provides an acronym which spells out some rather extreme obscenity. Additionally, the site provides an fake audio advertisement in which 'Jack' is discovered naked in a young lad's bedroom. Unnecessary, offensive, and inclusions which make one wonder to what lengths Rockstar are prepared to go to generate interest and sales on the strength of controversy. And it makes ME wonder just how much damage to the rest of the video games industry will occur before Rockstar are brought 'down'!
Recently, the Entertainment Software Rating Board has informed all games publishers that they are required to audit all their titles for offensive content, including that contained in hidden 'Easter Eggs' within the games and content in code which is not playable unless 'cheat codes' are used. The requirement is extended to titles released within the past 12 months as well as to titles included in current and upcoming catalogues. Alarmingly, the ESRB is also casting its eye toward the games modding community, which provides much of the innovation in the development of gaming on PC.
Should that attention end up with restriction placed on the provision for users to create modifications to games, we run the risk of PC games being provided without the modding tools included, and a situation where innovation and creativity are stifled. Yet Rockstar continue to blatantly thumb their nose at public opinion!
Shame on you!
Should one opportunistic company be allowed to continue to create havoc the way it has been lately? I think not. Rockstar's attitude is childish and outrageously petulant. They have created much of the controversy that threatens the video gaming industry and they continue to feed it. Yes please. Can we have tighter controls? But for goodness sake can we have tighter controls that target 'rogues' such as this company, rather than controls which unfairly place restrictions on creativity and innovation?