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EA's Gibeau: "Controversy isn't a bad thing"

Games label boss admits to love of mainstream media when promoting new IP

EA Games label boss Frank Gibeau has admitted that the company purposefully courts controversy in order to gain headlines in the mass media, even going so far as to admit: "We love Fox News".

"When you're building new IPs and you're building games and you're looking at an entertainment audience, they see a lot of messages. Controversy isn't a bad thing. I personally believe you should court controversy," he said in an interview with IndustryGamers.

"You should do it in a way that matches the creative integrity of the game. You shouldn't do it in a gratuitous way, but if it matches the creativity of the game... I loved it when Fox News did the lesbian aliens on Mass Effect. I love when they covered the Taliban; I loved it when they covered the Bulletstorm stuff.

"In each one of those cases, it was true to the game and we were trying to do something creatively. The fact that their point of view is different than ours and represented an audience out there is fine by me. I felt we could stand up and defend what we did and be aggressive about it and be proud of it," he said.

Although many of the controversies, including the recent Bulletstorm coverage and the infamous "Sex-Box" expose for the original Mass Effect, are unique to the US, EA drew considerable criticism in the UK for its handling of last year's Medal Of Honor reboot.

In general though EA's manufactured controversies have had a positive effect on sales, with Medal Of Honor overcoming mediocre critical reviews and only Visceral Games' Dante's Inferno failing to benefit from the publisher's provocative marketing approach.

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David Jenkins

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