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CD Projekt: E3 booth babes are "the cheapest trick"

CEO says sex has its place in games, but male audience will always lead to abuses

CD Projekt CEO Marcin Iwinski believes that the use of booth babes and sex to promote games will "always happen" as long as the audience is dominated by males.

In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Iwinski defends CD Projekt's use of sex - exemplified by the first game's "sex cards" - in The Witcher series as coherent with its world, and very different to the "cheap tricks" often used to draw in male gamers, like E3's divisive booth babes.

"I think it will always happen as long as a part of your audience is male," he says. "The cheapest trick is to grab a fancy car and put a booth babe next to it. So yes, it's there."

"Males are making certain decisions through hormones. People are paid to take care of the market and know it very well. Am I offended in some of these cases? Sure"

Iwinski was also asked about Ubisoft's press conference, which RPS suggested had been pitched at, "some mythical Dew-drinking, female-fearing male demographic that doesn't exist."

"I don't think having a presentation where it's a major part of a game is necessarily a problem. It makes sense, because the game is defending itself. So it's just a part of the world. Some people will overuse it. Others won't," Iwinski replied.

"Yes, it could alienate audiences, but you have to look at it from the quality of the product perspective. If it's overused [in marketing], it probably won't be a big product anyway. Really, I think the market is eliminating all the weaknesses and all the cheap tricks. But, at the end of the day, males are making certain decisions through hormones. People are paid to take care of the market and know it very well. Am I offended in some of these cases? Sure.

"But you really have to look at it on a product-by-product basis. And then it really depends on somebody's taste."

The use of sex and the representation of women in games is an ongoing issue for the industry, one generally raised each year due to the use of scantily dressed models to promote games at E3.

However, this year it has been even more vigorously debated, due to a controversial Hitman trailer, Ubisoft's Far Cry 3 demo opening on a sex scene, and a scene of sexual assault in the demo for Crystal Dynamics' new Tomb Raider game.

To read Rachel Weber's editorial on the dubious press coverage of E3's booth babes, click here. For Rob Fahey's editorial on the Hitman trailer, click here.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.