Global retail sales of the video game Grand Theft Auto V toped $800 Million in the game’s first 24 hours of availability. The previous record of $500 million was set last year by Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Shares of Take-Two closed up 1.2% yesterday to finish at $17.20 and the stock has improved by 12% since July. The game costs $60 and has been given a “Mature” rating meaning it can only be purchased by games older than 17.
The 16 year old GTA franchise has won numerous awards over the years and been the controversial spark for research into the effects of violent video games. The research suggests that playing violent video games increases aggressive behavior in children and young adults. It also increases physiological arousal, stress, and aggressive thoughts and feelings. Playing violent videogames also has been shown to decrease prosocial behavior. Prosocial behaviors are actions intended to help or benefit another person or society. It is characterized by empathy, concern, thoughtfulness, selflessness, and morality. Prosocial behavior at work leads to increased reward allocation like promotions, bonuses, and raises. It also leads to the person being liked more and more likely to be rated as performing superior customer service. Now does this research indicate that if someone plays violent videogames they will turn into a sociopath? Absolutely not. This research just shows that playing violent videogames may increase the likelihood of these effects. The good news for Take-Two is that this research doesn’t seem to be stunting the sale of the fifth edition in this award winning franchise.