Video Games As Product Placement for Guns
A man preps for a 'Medal of Honor' photoshoot. A recent news article highlighted product placement relationships between video games and gun companies.
CREDIT: From "Medal of Honor Warfighter Magpul Partnership" by Medal of Honor on YouTube
Colt and Glock, McMillan and Magpul — although only 26 percent of U.S. residents own firearms, many more know the names and looks of different guns. Product-placement deals in video games may be part of the reason why, according to a new report from the New York Times.
Gun-makers see video games as a way to reach a large market of potential customers, marketing experts told the Times. Meanwhile, game-makers seek to improve the realism of their games by showcasing genuine clothing, gun and tactical equipment brands, said Laura Parker, an editor at a gaming website, Gamespot Australia.
The New York Times highlighted a few examples of such cross-promotion, including a video about the partnership between the game "Medal of Honor" and gun-maker Magpul.
People from the game and gun industry who commented on specific product placements for the story said such promotions aren't paid for, the way TV and movie product placements often are. There usually is a formal legal agreement, especially for prominent, high-grossing games, a video game industry lawyer, Matthew Syrkin, told the New York Times.
The extent to which gun cameos in video games influence violence in the U.S. is unclear. Scientific studies have found little evidence that playing violent video games leads to real-life violence.
The Times article comes at a juncture when the talk is hot about how video games contribute to violent acts in the U.S. After the Sandy Hook shooting, one gaming website founder called for a "cease fire" day to honor the shooting's victims. A search for the day's Twitter hashtag, #osceasefire, shows the idea was controversial among gamers, some of whom thought it appeared to place blame on video games for violence.
On the same day, the National Rifle Association's CEO, Wayne LaPierre, held a news conference during which he blamed violent video games instead of gun ownership for contributing to mass murders, drawing an "us-versus-them" line that the New York Times story suggests may not be so clear-cut.