EA drops gun licenses, will use them anyway

Publisher says it doesn't need manufacturers' approval to put their weapons into games

Electronic Arts is dropping some of its licensing partners, but will continue to feature their products in its games. According to Reuters, the publisher has terminated its licensing deals with gun manufacturers, but intends to keep featuring their firearms in its games.

"We're telling a story and we have a point of view," EA Labels head Frank Gibeau said. "A book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example."

Gun manufacturers and the NRA declined to comment for the Reuters report, but Gibeau's attitude is not shared by all military equipment manufacturers. Bell Helicopter has been in court with EA for years over a dispute stemming from its helicopters being featured in the Battlefield franchise without permission.

The gun lobby in the US has been vocally critical of video games in the months since a December school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school left dozens dead, but EA said the decision to drop the licenses was not related.

"The response from our audience was pretty clear: they feel the comments from the NRA were a simple attempt to change the subject," EA spokesman Jeff Brown said.

EA's relationship with gun makers has made headlines before. Last year, a Medal of Honor cross-promotion with weapons manufacturers caused an outcry from the gaming press and public, prompting EA to scrap the initiative.

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Latest comments (9)

Private Industry 7 years ago
A book doesnt pay for saying the word Audio R8. You dont the see the gun or car in a book, in a videogame it's a visual representation. I doubt it's legal to use visual representation of a product in a commercial product without the allowance of the manufacturer.
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Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide7 years ago
Do movie makers gets licenses for every car (etc) that is visually represented in their movie?
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Brian Bonardi Internet Radio/TV Host/Producer/Director 7 years ago
No, I believe that falls under a different line. Advertising. The movie makers make deals with car manufactuerers not so much for a liscence but as a form of advertisement for the Cars products. I hate using this movie as an example but in the Transformers movie franchise every single car outside of the one used to represent Optimus Prime were GM made cars. Did GM give the producers a licence to allow the use of thier cars. No, it was a mutual agreement between the two that they needed cars for the films and GM saw it as an easy way to advertise the latest products. It may sound like licencing the way I'm explaining it. but I feel like they may be two different things.
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Private Industry 7 years ago
I'd assume GM had to even pay for that. Same goes for Bond movies they are advertising cars. Heineken contributed a big part to the last Bond movie to have him drink a beer.

I'm sure every kind of prominent use of a specific item in a movie may it be a car, phone, laptop or so on does need the manufacturer approval. I'm sure you can't just make a movie and have Mercedes cars prominently in the movie without the consent of Mercedes for you to use their cars.
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Mark Laurel Developer 7 years ago
IDK how this will all play out...but I'm glad EA took a stance.

We all know the gun manufacturer lobby was looking for a scapegoat. They certainly have stayed silent with the recent shooting of a 2yr old by her 5yr old brother who was gifted a Crickett.

This manufacturer ACTIVELY markets & sells guns to kids
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 7 years ago
It's actually a pretty smart long as it's legal.
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 7 years ago
Funny... Ars Technica is reporting that they never did pay license fees.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 9th May 2013 11:18am

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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 7 years ago
For once I agree with EA. Its like this. Its almost as if your wereing a set of clothing from adidas and pua, and need permission to take a picture wearing them.

In movies its not a licensing deal. Movie companies pitch the idea to companies who might be interested in making a deal to advertise there products. And they pay the film studio to have them featured there.

I doubt they need permission to display, every car, gun, weapon, set of clothing in the movie.
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Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios7 years ago
@ Mark Laurel
This manufacturer ACTIVELY markets & sells guns to kids
Are you referring to EA as the manufacturer that actively markets & sells guns to kids, or are you talking about the gun manufacturing industry as a whole? Because if you're referring to gun manufacturers as a whole, I think you're very much mistaken.

Gun manufacturers have two main marketing segments. Military and Law Enforcement Personnel, and adult enthusiasts. They market to these demographics appropriately. Anywhere in the United States, public or private sale, it is illegal to sell a firearm to anyone on the minimum age of 18. The laws are a bit different if it's a handed down hunting rifle or shotgun or something like that, but point of sale laws are very firm: Rifles minimum age of 18, 21 for handguns. This is a very strictly enforced law and results in a rather large fine and potential jail time if and when broken.

So, I put this question to you, now knowing the actual market for gun manufacturers. Who's the one actively marketing and selling guns to kids? Is it the gun manufacturer who intended to target the legally -of age- intended demographic EA was aiming towards with their rated Mature title (mainly 18 - 25 year old males) who saw an opportunity to make money by 'licensing' the rights to show company products to their intended audience? Or is it EA, for actively pursuing a deal with the super bad ultra evil gun manufacturers hell bent on world domination through superior firepower?

Trick question: the answer is neither. EA has always had an intended audience of 18 - 25 year old male gamers (the now relatively standard demographic for such games). Gun manufacturers that actively worked with EA for product representation licensing, did so for advertising purposes BECAUSE of the intended target market of the game. So please explain how the evil gun manufacturers (if this is who you were originally referring to) are actively marketing and selling guns to kids, when 'kids' are not even supposed to be playing the game in the first place? Especially when the intended target audience of the game itself, are individuals who are of legal adult age (over the age of 18 in the US) and are legally able to purchase firearms.

The game, and the marketing of the firearm manufacturers products, do not come under the eye of an underage audience until that individual has either obtained a copy by circumventing parental restrictions or had it purchased for them BY their own parents (which is the more frequent of the two). So before people start pointing fingers at evil gun manufacturers for marketing and selling guns to kids, remember that it takes parental enabling for the underage (non target) audience to even be exposed to the content of the game in the first place.
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