A major news broadcaster has this morning withdrawn a planned news story about Medal of Honor after learning that much of the information being touted about the game by the media is inaccurate, MCV has discovered.
Upon discovering that no British troops feature in EA's game the media company ruled that the story was not relevant to its audience and decided to drop the feature. But this decision flies in the face of a wave of often inaccurate reporting about the title in the UK media this morning.
Earlier today GMTV ran a piece on the title in which a former military officer, despite the best efforts of the presenters, refused to chastise the game, saying that he didn't believe playing as the Taliban in a video game poses any real-world threat.
Meanwhile, The Sun has claimed that gamers who choose to play as Taliban are apparently instructed to stop the coalition ‘at all costs' and receive points for every allied troop they kill”.
Though there is a debate to be had, this misinformation is not helping.
Medal of Honor is an 18-rated highly authentic depiction of the soldier's experience in Afghanistan – matching US forces against the Taliban in today's war,” an EA spokesperson told MCV.
Multiplayer combat is a long-standing, common and popular feature of video games. In multi-player, teams assume the identities of combatants on both sides of the conflict. Many popular videogames allow players to assume the identity of enemies including Nazis and terrorists. In the multi-player levels of Medal of Honor, teams will assume the identity of both US forces and the Taliban.
The Sunday Times and other media stories on Medal of Honor contain inaccuracies. For one, Medal of Honor does not allow players to kill British soldiers. British troops do not feature in the game.”
Yesterday Defence Secretary Liam Fox called on retailers to show their support for the armed forces” and enforce a voluntary boycott of the game.
However, Fox gave no indication that either the government or PEGI would be making any official move against the title. Quite why he felt that it was retail's responsibility to act as censor is unclear.
And the claims put retail into an awkward position. By stocking the title Fox could theoretically label them as unpatriotic; by not stocking it they face losing out on significant sales. It's a tricky PR conundrum for any retailer, particularly when Fox's assertions are highly questionable and likely based on the aforementioned swirl of media misinformation.
This morning a spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has told MCV that Dr Fox was expressing a personal view” and that there is a clear choice for consumers which they can exercise when making decisions about purchasing video games”.
In addition, two major UK retailers have told MCV that they have no comment to make on the matter, though MCV has also been told that neither are currently considering boycotting the title. The DCMS statement should go some way to alleviating the pressure on retail.