Devolver Digital co-founder, Mike Wilson, has admitted that marketing marijuana tycoon game, Weedcraft Inc., has been a “nightmare”.
In an interview with Techcrunch (via GI.biz), Wilson reflected on how influencers playing the many, many games about murder and violence are rarely penalised with demonetisation, but a game about legalised marijuana – one that doesn’t show any drug use whatsoever – has faced surprising resistance.
“This is definitely the hardest game I’ve had to market, and that’s saying something,” Wilson said. “It has been a f–king nightmare. The fact that we’re still so afraid of a topic like weed instead of the murder simulators you can market any time, anywhere, it’s shocking.
“This isn’t a pro-legalization game. This is a tycoon game,” Wilson added. “We wanted it to be representative of all the social issues involved. It’s kind of like doing a game about booze in the prohibition era – like, what an interesting industry to study, right?”
“So Weedcraft, a game about building a corporate business around legal marijuana, features no illegal drug use or violence, but has just been banned from Facebook & YT vids are being demonetized,” PR representative Stephanie Tinsley Fitzwilliam said last week. “But you can post ads for whatever shooty shooterman murder simulator w/ no problem.”
When challenged by another Twitter user who pointed out that marijuana was still outlawed in many US states, Fitzwilliam added: “Murdering people is also illegal in every state and country around the world but there’s still a billion videos showing games that do that on youtube so it’s really less about what’s legal and more about hypocrisy, I think.”
This isn’t the first time one of Devolver’s games has been rejected by advertisers. In January, Facebook rejected an advertisement for Gris, claiming it was too “sexually suggestive”.
“We appealed and they said the appeal was rejected based on the grounds that Facebook does not allow nudity,” Devolver said at the time. “First of all, she’s a statue and second, absolutely no nudity is shown in that photo, nor is this what any reasonable person would consider ‘sexualized content’.”
It was later revealed that the ban was not for Gris directly, but rather other material posted on Devolver Digital’s own social channels which violated Facebook’s zero tolerance policy on nudity.