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Raking in $1 billion within its first three days of sales, Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) has the fastest sales rate ever compared to “any entertainment property, including video games and feature films”.[1] Other entertainment properties have reached mildly similar success, but not nearly as quickly as GTA V. For example, Avatar, “the highest grossing film ever,” reached $1 billion in 17 days, and ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ hit $1 billion in 15 days. [2]

With 160 million consoles capable of playing GTA V, not including PC, its sales possibilities are unimaginable. [3] The growth potential for GTA V is astounding, considering the many next-generation gaming platforms that demand GTA V in newer formats. Such high demands for this commodity requires flexible production and innovative distribution as described in Lury’s discussion of post-Fordism practices. To be able to satisfy the consumer need for GTA V, manufacturers must have an advanced system of production that can proliferate GTA Vs in conjunction with the soaring rate of sales, as well as generate them in new formats to be able to reach a mass market with a range of different consoles.

Ignoring the creepy virtual violence fetish within our society, the sensation of GTA V in our consumer culture is a direct result of the fetishism of the commodity. Ultimately, the success and great profitability achieved is at the expense of the consumer. Even though consumers are not passive, they are alienated and estranged from the capitalist truths  that create their distorted reality. By way of strategic packaging, promotion, and advertising capitalists are able to mask the commodity to their advantage, leaving the masses ignorant. Because these masks are able to encode commodities with fabricated ideological meanings, the consumer’s freedom to make meaning is exploited. Of course this is unnoticeable to most consumers because it is all a part of the commodity aesthetics.

As Adorno would argue, the commodity aesthetics are attributed to the cultural associations and illusions, resulting from manipulation, that provoke consumers to compromise use-value for exchange-value.

Adorno (1974), for example, speaks of how the dominance of exchange-value erases the memory of the original use-value of goods, leaving the commodity available to take up a secondary or ersatz use-value. (Lury 39)


[1]http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3963799

[2]http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3963799

[3]http://techland.time.com/2013/09/20/grand-theft-auto-v-no-longer-wants-to-be-a-billionaire/

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