Some UK retailers are refusing to stock Rockstar Games' forthcoming PS2 title Bully, called Canis Canem Edit in the UK. Retailers Currys and PC World, both owned by DSG International Plc., will not sell the game when it goes on sale in Europe on October 27. In a statement, Currys said that the game is "not appropriate for Currys' family-friendly image."
Currys does stock many other non-family-orientated titles, including Saints Row, Gangs of London, Yakuza, and Rockstar's own Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Spokesperson Mark Webb told GameSpot that "we realise that we've got other games that are more violent, we do know that, but we are a family store. The game is specifically about violence in the playground and that is the reasoning behind the decision [not to stock it]."
The official statement lists what Currys believes is "the explicit link between violence and children" as the reason behind the ban, and continues: "We haven't taken this decision lightly, particularly considering the excellent relationship we have with Rockstar."
When asked whether Currys had ever banned any other games, Webb replied: "I don't think so, no. Definitely not in the last year, anyway... We chose not to stock Manhunt or Hitman." He also confirmed that the decision would apply across all UK companies under the DSG group umbrella, which will therefore include PC World.
However, the ban will likely not have much effect on the game's UK sales, as most other popular UK retailers are happily accepting preorders, including dedicated games stores Game and Gamestation, as well as HMV and Virgin Megastores, online stores Amazon and www.play.com, and other 'family' store Woolworths.
Woolworths commented on the decision to stock the game by pointing out that it will have a 15-certificate in the UK, which is strictly enforced in its stores to prevent sale to those under this age. In a statement, a spokesperson for Woolworths said: "We will be stocking Canis Canum Edit, which is expected to be a popular video game... Like any other retailer, we must be guided by the government and relevant regulators on issues of taste and decency. In this case the game is classified suitable for people aged 15 and over and Woolworths will strictly enforce legislation preventing its sale to anyone younger."