EA removes links to real-world gun manufacturers from Medal of Honor Warfighter site

Medal of Honor Warfighter

When EA first began winding up the gears on the Medal of Honor Warfighter PR machine, the company wanted to highlight the game’s realism. That’s nothing new for the first-person shooter genre, and especially not the military-focused subgenre, but EA took it a step further than most publishers had at any point previous. If you were to visit the official site for Medal of Honor Warfighter at the time of the game’s October 23 release you would have noticed that alongside the standard lists of game features and screeenshots, EA had included links to the websites of the real world companies who manufacture the weapons found in the game. Ostensibly the idea was that players would enjoy shooting virtual insurgents with a given weapon so much that they’d be unable to resist the temptation to rush out and buy a .50cal anti-material rifle of their own.

That’s a pretty ballsy marketing scheme, no matter how you look at it, but in the wake of the tragedy that befall Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, it becomes undeniably macabre. While EA didn’t immediately realize how this marketing effort would look in that light, the Internet masses (specifically the fine people over at The Gameological Society) called the company out, and EA was quick to claim that it had effectively forgotten about the links — no surprise given the financial and critical failure of Warfighter — but then removed them post-haste. Now a visit to the Warfighter site will only include overt advertising links to Zero Dark Thirty, a film based on the events of the SEAL raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound that resulted in the death of the terrorist leader. An in-game map pack based on the film may be a baffling promotional tie-in, but it’s certainly less chilling than efforts to boost sales of military weaponry via a game that is arguably more popular among teenagers than it is discerning adults.

Despite EA’s efforts to strike its ill-advised marketing efforts from historical record, the Internet never forgets and those who look hard enough will still find remnants of the campaign. As the New York Times points out, part of this effort included EA filming a promotional video with arms designer/manufacturer Magpul which is still readily available on YouTube. The video, which clocks in at just a bit over three minutes, is mostly a behind-the-scenes look at a promotional photoshoot for Medal of Honor Warfighter, but it’s quite apparent from the lingering shots focused on assault rifles and their accessories that the footage (and resulting promotional photos) could quite accurately be described as “gun porn.”

In reaction to all of this the Times published an article this morning highlighting the until-recently growing trend of games being cross promoted alongside the real-world incarnations of the weapons they feature. The piece cites games like Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 as well as EA’s Battlefield 3 as two examples, before stating that neither publisher received any monetary compensation from weapons manufacturers for including their guns within these games. Instead, it seems, the gun manufacturers are perfectly happy to license their guns’ likenesses to gaming companies purely for the exposure it provides. The article is quite illuminating, and a great read for anyone intrigued by how these efforts might change in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting — or, more worryingly, why these efforts might not change at all in the long run. As the gaming publishers point out, these companies view such efforts as no different than their titles which use other real-world people and items, such as the cars found in EA’s Need for Speed titles, or the NFL players seen in EA’s ubiquitous Madden football franchise. Only time will tell if the recent tragedy might inspire true change in EA’s advertising plans.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Peter Dinklage gets cryptic about two 'Game of Thrones' characters' fates

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable -- if you don't mind spoilers.
Gaming

What you should know about 'Red Dead Redemption 2' before it launches

The long-awaited (and long-rumored) sequel to Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption is confirmed. Red Dead Redemption 2 will arrive next spring. Here's everything we've heard about the game so far.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Product Review

The Oculus Rift is cheaper, the Vive Pro is better. Is the original Vive still worth it?

The Oculus Rift may have brought virtual reality into the public eye, but HTC’s Vive, built in partnership with Valve, does it better. Does the Vive still represent the true future of virtual reality, or are there better competitors on…
Gaming

As deaf gamers speak up, game studios are finally listening to those who can’t

Using social media, personal blogs and Twitch, a small group of deaf and hard-of-hearing players have been working to make their voices heard and improve accessibility in the gaming industry.
Computing

Nvidia is slowly rolling out its next generation of GPUs. Here's what you need to know about them

Nvidia's new RTX 2000 series graphics cards are impressive pieces of hardware, with some amazing advancements and some rather high price tags to match. Here's everything you need to know about Nvidia's new top-tier cards.
Gaming

Grab a comfy saddle — ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ campaign clocks in at 60 hours

According to Rockstar Games co-founder and head writer Dan Houser, Red Dead Redemption 2 features a 60-hour story. Houser said "superfluous" content was removed from the game. It launches October 26 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Gaming

Jump into an internet DeLorean and play free Commodore 64 games online

The Internet Archive has added more than 8,800 full Commodore 64 games to its software library. Here's how you can play them completely free in your browser without the need for a joystick.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ in-game tournaments will give you the chance to beat the pros

Epic Games is introducing in-game tournaments to Fortnite. The initial schedule includes five tournaments, with commemorative pins going to the victors. Down the road, the pins might grant you access into additional rounds.
Gaming

Here's how you can keep up with your favorite streamers at TwitchCon 2018

From sessions with your favorite streamers to epic Esports tournaments, there's plenty to look forward to at this year's TwitchCon 2018. We cover how you can attend, where you can watch if you can't, and which events you don't want to miss.
Gaming

Monsters you get in ‘Pokémon: Let’s Go’ can be transferred to the next main RPG

Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eeevee! monsters will be able to be transferred to the next main Pokémon RPG on Switch, according to game director Junichi Masuda.
Gaming

Turbo-powered Quadcrasher crashes the party in new ‘Fortnite’ update 6.01

Season 6, week 4 marks the arrival of Fortnite update 6.10 patch notes. It brings with it the arrival of the new Quadcrasher vehicle, in-game tournaments, a ton of Save the World additions, and much more.