To the surprise of absolutely no one, Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) earned a metric ton of cash in its first week. What’s a little more surprising, perhaps, is the lack of controversy for a game that’s been the poster child for outraged parents, conservatives and pundits.
I speak with some experience here. As a newly minted professor, I testified before the US Senate on video games and violence, jousting with fan favorites like Jack Thompson, and a gallery of senators ready to pounce on the evils of violent games. I was there because I’d published a dissertation and subsequent papers that found no long-term impact. My study had players of an MMO play for 60 hours, which was the longest study exposure ever (by 59.5 hours). Needless to say, this was a hand grenade in the research, and was cited by partisans as evidence that games were perfect, I was crazy, and more besides.