From Forbes: Remember those assurances by video game companies that violent games had no direct link to violent people? That line is a bit more hazy these days.
When Electronic Arts created the marketing material around the latest title in its blockbuster Medal of Honor series, the Warfighter installment, it made a website that included links to the manufacturers of the guns and other weapons shown in the game, according to a chilling New York Times story.
Links from that site led to the companies’ online catalogs, turning the EA Website into a “virtual showroom for guns,” Ryan Smith, who writes an online gaming magazine, told The Times. Now, those links are down. Still, EA proudly displays a list of 14 partners. Examples: Magpul, a manufacturer of large-capacity magazines, and McMillan Group, which produces highly powered sniper rifles. While the links are inactive, it doesn’t take much more now to click through to the gun companies’ websites.
Clinical research about whether violent content can desensitize the brain to violence, making a person more likely to commit some atrocity, is varied and uncertain. No clear, direct correlation has ever been established. Many have tried, like the highly cited 2007 study by two Iowa State professors and a University of Michigan professor that concluded: “Participants who previously played a violent video game had lower [heart rate and skin-test response] while viewing filmed real violence, demonstrating a physiological desensitization to violence.” Yet, an earlier study found a different view. “Research has shown that exposure to violent video games causes increases in aggression, but the mechanisms of this effect have remained elusive,” according to a 2005 paper in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. ”Also, potential differences in short-term and long-term exposure are not well understood.”
From The New York Times: Many of the same producers of firearms and related equipment are also financial backers of the N.R.A. McMillan, for example, is a corporate donor to the group, and Magpul recently joined forces with it in a product giveaway featured on Facebook. The gun group also lists Glock, Browning and Remington as corporate sponsors.
Makers of firearms and related gear have come to see video games as a way to promote their brands to millions of potential customers, marketing experts said. Magpul and Electronic Arts made a video posted on YouTube about their partnership.
“It is going to help brand perceptions,” said Stacy Jones, the president of Hollywood Branded, a company that specializes in product placement in movies and television shows.
Assault-style rifles made by Bushmaster Firearms have a roster of credits that any actor would envy, including appearances in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, a part of the popular Activision series.
The gunman in the Connecticut killings, Adam Lanza, used a semiautomatic rifle made by Bushmaster, which is a unit of the Freedom Group.
The most recent entry in the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops II, featured models of weapons that are also made by Barrett and Browning. Another popular game sold by Electronic Arts, Battlefield 3, depicts assault rifles and pistols similar to those made by Colt, Heckler & Koch, Glock and Beretta.
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