We’ve talked quite a bit about videogame violence and the impact that it may or may not have on our culture at large here at GameChurch. Generally, we like to leave a lot of room for subtlety and sensitivity on the issue as people who both value videogames and think the world would be better off if it had less violence in it.
However, it’s hard not to get discouraged when EA starts trying to sell more copies of their war game by partnering up with an actual gun seller.
The official site for EA’s new iteration in the Medal of Honor series (entitled Medal of Honor: Warfighter) currently is being sponsored by at least one weapon seller (LaRue Tactical) and a weapon accessory and tactical gear seller (London Bridge Trading). EA is touting the upcoming game as “the most authentic war game” ever made, even working closely with national special operations military units to achieve an unprecedented realistic wartime simulation experience. Add all this up and you’ve got a recipe for a potentially dangerous videogames PR nightmare.
Although buying a gun online and getting it in a UPS package a few days later isn’t quite as simple a transaction as some are making it out to be, this marketing ploy won’t exactly improve videogames’ increasingly horrendous reputation in the eye of the public. Considering how frequently mainstream news publications link violent videogames to violent behavior, this newfound connection between “authentic” war games and real life weaponry that EA is creating will only feed the fire. Even as someone who doesn’t necessarily equate increased gun ownership with a more violent culture, the last thing any of us want is a generation of kids who have learned everything they know about guns from videogames going out and purchasing semi-automatic assault rifles.
In a recent interview with CBS, infamous game developer Jonathan Blow was asked what he thought about the current state of the videogame industry. His response was that among many things, it is “a big mess”. This may not have been exactly what he was talking about, but if EA thinks they can get away with something like this, perhaps he’s not far off.
***Update*** We have been informed that London Bridge Tactical does not make or sell guns but only tactical gear (backpacks, ammo pouches, etc) and have updated this article accordingly. We greatly apologize for not checking these facts more closely before publishing. We also recognize that, in light of these facts, it was unfair to say “ this newfound connection between “authentic” war games and real life violence that EA is creating will only feed the fire.” It is also important to note that EA has since backed away from some of these partnerships.