America’s ongoing struggle to rationalise its gun laws has now affected the video game space.
EA has announced that it will no longer be pursuing licensing agreements with arms manufacturers.
However, this isn’t necessarily the U-turn that it first appears to be – EA still intends to feature branded guns in its games. It will simply do so without a license.
"We're telling a story and we have a point of view," EA's president of labels Frank Gibeau told Reuters. "A book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example."
The publisher believes this strategy will succeed because gun firms will welcome what is effectively free advertising. Ever notice how many loading animations make a point of showing you the brand emblazoned on the side of the weapon?
The close relationship between publishers and the arms trade has grown over the current generation of machines. EA licensed weapons from McMillan Group for its marketing of Medal of Honor: Warfighter while Activision thanks Colt and Remington in its Call of Duty credits.
Despite this America’s chief firearms advocate the National Rifle Association has constantly lashed out at the game industry, preferring to deflect criticism of its own practices with baseless accusations about the effects of video games.
Regardless, closing aligning oneself with guns companies is potentially toxic in the modern political climate in the US, so you can expect others to follow EA’s lead.