Guns, it is a blistering-hot topic right now. So of course, there is a new subtopic brewing in the game industry and EA is the catalyst. According to Reuters, EA is currently dropping all ties with licensing guns from gun manufacturers in its video games but will continue to use them in its games. EA’s President of Labels, Frank Gibeau, gave this statement: “We’re telling a story and we have a point of view. A book doesn’t pay for saying the word ‘Colt,’ for example.”
The idea here is that guns fall under free marketing and thus licensing would not have to occur or as Reuters put it: “Put another way, EA is asserting a constitutional free speech right to use trademarks without permission in its ever-more-realistic games.” The reason video game companies currently pay a licensing fee is because it was something they chose to do in the 90s.
There is currently no known lawsuit against a single video game company for using a gun without a license and this obviously gives EA ample room to maneuver here. EA is trying to set a precedent, but is that motivation a financial one or is it because it wants to distance itself from gun manufacturers and the NRA’s message about guns?
EA is certainly seeing a lot of court time and I am unsure what this will do to the gaming landscape if it does go to trial. What effect, if any, do you think will happen? Let us know in the comments below.