We hear about game licensing quite often with certain titles. The Fifa games have the license to use real player names, the Gran Turismo games (among others) can use the real names and likenesses of cars and so on. One you don’t often think about though, is the licensing deals FPS developers have with gun manufacturers in order to add authentic weaponry to the experience. However EA Games may not be able to do so in the future, having just severed its licensing deals with all gun makers.
EA has previously worked with McMillan Group International to aid marketing for “Medal of Honor: Warfighter,” among other games. Now though it has announced that it will no longer be doing so – though it still seems confident that gun likenesses will appear in future titles. EA’s president of labels Frank Gibeau said (via Reuters): “A book doesn’t pay for saying the world ‘Colt’,” suggesting that EA shouldn’t need to pay to have Colt guns in its games.
This might seem like posturing, but according to some legal experts, there’s never been a case where gun makers sued video game developers for using their guns in a game.
Traditionally, game makers did deals with the manufacturers that involved payouts, as well as obvious branding within the game. Often times when certain armaments are reloaded in a first person perspective, the player’s character will turn the gun to a position that allows the logo of the manufacturer or the name of the weapon to be prominently displayed.
But why the about turn now? Mostly it’s thought to be with the recent spate of anti-video-game violence stories that have hit American tabloids since the Newtown shooting last year. America has always had tenuous grip on its own acceptance and understanding of gun laws, but recently there’s been a big upsurge of hatred poured on gun owners and somehow violent video-games got mixed up in it. Understandably EA is hoping to distance itself from this, but whether gun makers will want their products used for violent means in-games without a license, in the current moral climate, remains to be seen.
KitGuru Says: Following on from this article, I must express that I don’t think violent video games or legal gun owners actively contribute to horrific child murders. It’s a real leap to connect those dots.