Seven in ten British GTA gamers first played when they were underage
December 5th, 2023, Christien Pheby

Seven in ten British GTA gamers first played when they were underage

Grand Theft Auto VI is set to release in 2025. The franchise has allowed players to do many things over its 26-year history: shoot guns; rob banks; have a mid-life crisis; trade stocks; solicit sex; play tennis; bail out of an attack helicopter in the middle of a multiplayer session – killing all of your teammates in a fireball – because your friend said you were flying too slow; and yes, steal cars. A lot of these activities are not considered particularly child-friendly, which is why they’ve inspired occasional moral panics, and also why the games are always rated 18.

But while the sale of these games is legally restricted to adults, new YouGov data shows that most first played GTA when they were underage. Overall, 71% of Britons who have ever played a game in the series had their first experience with it when they were younger than 18.

Breaking this down further, 20% say they first played GTA when they were younger than 11; 36% say they were 12-15 years old; and 15% say they were 16-17. Whether that’s because parents are buying the games for their children; retailers are being lax about selling the games to kids; or because older siblings and friends are exposing them to the series is not for us to say. But most people who first experienced Grand Theft Auto were legally too young to buy it when they first played.

YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 28-29 November 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 2,006 adults in Great Britain  using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.