“What kind of message is a video game publisher like EA sending when it encourages its players to buy weapons?” What kind of message indeed. EA, publisher of the wildly popular Medal of Honor games, has added links on its website to the real-life makers of some of the guns and gear depicted in Medal of Honor: Warfighter. And some people – like gamespot.com associate editor Laura Parker – think this breaches a “moral boundary.” Other people simply call it cross-promotion . . .
Parker, however, is shocked, shocked to find that marketing is going on here:
More startling than EA linking its players to sites where they can buy real-life weapons to match the ones used in its game is the decision by Medal of Honor executive producer Greg Goodrich to write accompanying blog posts for each of the companies (there are currently 11 listed, three of which manufacture guns or knives) in which he seems to wholeheartedly endorse their products.
Promoting weapons (not just promoting, but being excited at the very idea that a Medal of Honor: Warfighter player can use a virtual weapon to kill another player as a form of entertainment and then turn around and order the real version of the same weapon online), feels wrong. It feels wrong even with the understanding and acknowledgement that that there are carefully-enforced restrictions and background checks in place, or that it would be just as easy to seek out and buy these weapons without EA’s help.
And the vapors experience by Parker and others over the situation seems to have made EA re-think their product cross promotion strategy. At least a little. An update to Parker’s article indicates EA has since taken the links to their partners’ products down. They have left the partner page up, though. Surely Medal of Honor gamers could never locate these sites – let alone the products – on their own. EA issued this statement from Goodrich:
After listening to feedback from the community and reviewing our program for supporting veterans, we have withdrawn the Tomahawk from the promotion and removed related URL links on our website. We continue to work with gear manufacturers to provide an authentic videogame experience and to support veteran’s organizations. Medal of Honor is committed to delivering an emotional, authentic depiction of the today’s war and today’s soldiers. It is inspired by real people, real places and real operations. The game is M-Rated and a work of historic fiction. Though a work of entertainment, the themes, scenarios and battles are a sensitive subject and may stir conversation among press and players.
We know we feel better now. You?