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EA drops all weapon ads associated with MoH

Eurogamer article causes publisher to pull links to real-life guns and blades

Electronic Arts has pulled all of the advertisements and links associated with real-world weaponry from its Medal of Honor website, in response to articles posted about the offers on Eurogamer and The Gameological Society.

Previously, ads and blog posts on the game's website had linked to 'sponsors' selling weapons and equipment featured in Medal of Honor - including a custom-built Tomahawk and a tactical sniper rifle kit. Also linked were several blogs detailing the equipment on offer - such as silencers, muzzle brakes and clothing - with videos of executive producer Greg Goodrich testing them.

When Gameological wrote an editorial about the offers, calling into question the wisdom of selling weapons to people who'd been practising using them to kill people competitively, the program was already in full swing, having been announced in June. Then, however, the story had been given a different gloss by EA PR, with press releases focused on the cut of the profits which would be going to help armed forces veterans.

Eurogamer's piece, by ex-editor and current operations director Tom Bramwell, added an even more bemused European angle to the criticism.

Yesterday, speaking to Eurogamer's Martin Robinson at Gamescom, Goodrich said that the links had been removed in response the outcry.

"The Voodoo Tomahawk has since been removed from our website because of the article," said Goodrich, referring to Bramwell's editorial.

"That was an effort to raise a lot of money for charity, and we were well on our way to raising a lot of money with that tomahawk, but I don't know what will happen with that now," he added. "That whole effort, we've been working with those partners because we wanted to be authentic, and we wanted to give back to the communities. Every one of those partners, none of them paid a dime for product placement - all the money generated went to Project Honor."

Goodrich was also keen to point out that, usually, gaming press are fully in favour of emphasising the disconnect between fantasy and reality when it comes to play causing violent behaviour.

"It's an experience, and it's a video game, and they're going on that journey and learning about these group of people. It doesn't mean that they have any less respect for these. Maybe it's a cultural thing.

"If I played Need for Speed, and I'm handed the key to a Porsche, does that make me want to get in it and drive like a maniac and run people over? No, I played a game, and now I'm drivng a car in real life but I'm not going to go crazy with it because I played a video game.

"In a first-person shooter we're not teaching someone how to shoot better or be a better operator just by playing a game. It doesn't compute, just like when I play John Madden football I can't expect win the Super Bowl just because I played a video game."

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Dan Pearson

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