Video games and a culture of conflict
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Video games are big business. Grand Theft Auto IV had sales of US4500 million in its first week (Canning, 2008b) and Halo 3 earned US$170 million for Microsoft in its opening day sales (Casey, 2007). In 2007, the Brisbane Times reported the release of videogame Halo 3 with the headline, "Online bloodbath as half a billion killed" as 1,441,353 played Halo 3 in its first 24 hours (Casey, 2007). Reviewing Halo 3 for the New York Times, Herold (2007) reinforced the centrality of the violence:
"the story of Halo 3 is the same as that of Halo 2 and the original Halo: a lot of things get in your way and you kill them ... The game's pleasures lie in the things you kill and how you do it ... Weapons include shotguns, sniper rifles, flame throwers and a giant sledgehammer that slices most monsters in half with a single blow if you can just get close enough".
Herold continued by purporting that consumers are conditioned by the industry to accept or even demand video game violence: "Halo 3 is not just a game: it is a phenomenon fueled by obsessed fans, slick advertising and excessive press coverage".
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