An Australian branch of video game retailer EB Games reportedly distributed bags of fake drugs to those who pre-odered Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto 5 during its midnight launch of the open-world title, according to Reddit user Matt Westcott.
A photo taken by Matt Westcott features lines of fake drugs and paraphernalia on display during an EB Games Australia midnight launch of Grand Theft Auto 5. According to the Reddit user, staff were asking customers for proof of age card and/or drivers licence before they entered the store. Citing a source, Kotaku Australia reports that the retailer's head office was unaware of the store's intentions and that it was an isolated incident.
Grand Theft Auto 5 received an R18+ rating in Australia for "High Impact Drug Use" while its themes, language, sex, violence and nudity were marked as having strong impact. The game is the first in the series to receive an R18+ rating in the country following the introduction of new classification guidelines for video games on Jan. 1, 2013.
Grand Theft Auto 5 launched worldwide on Sept. 17 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and you can read our review of the action title here.
Polygon has reached out to EB Games for comment.
Update: EB Games issued a statement to Polygon which apologizes for any offence caused by the rogue promotion and states that the substance was not distributed.
“Regrettably, one of our EB Games store locations in Queensland set-up an unauthorised display within the store in support of the launch of the Grand Theft Auto V video game. The display included a white powdery substance that appeared to be some form of an illegal drug. We can confirm that the powdery substance was “sherbet”, a type of fizzy candy, and at no point did the store attempt to give any of the fizzy candy away. This was an isolated incident, and we apologise for any offence this may cause.”