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EA No Longer Licensing Real Guns, But Will Still Use Them in Games

Battlefield 4

In a bold move, EA plans on cutting ties with the gun industry at large by no longer paying licensing fees for real-life weapons found in its games.

Gun control has become a hot topic in recent months, with neither side giving up the argument (even if the gun lobbyists are winning). There was much made of the fact that the NRA was finger-pointing at the gaming industry for the source of all the violence in tragedies like the one in Newtown, while companies like Activision and EA paid licensing fees to manufacturers like Colt and Bushmaster for the right to use actual guns in games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor. However, as of Wednesday, EA will no longer be party to that kind of support.

According to Reuters, EA has vowed to no longer pay licensing fees to the gun industry. Of course, that doesn’t mean the publisher will stop using real guns in its games. Quite the contrary, in fact. EA plans on using the trademarked weapons without paying a dime for them. “We’re telling a story and we have a point of view,” EA’s President of Labels Frank Gibeau said. “A book doesn’t pay for saying the word ‘Colt,’ for example.”

EA previously caught a bit of flack back during Medal of Honor: Warfighter’s promotion, as the company was originally linking to actual weapons for sale which appeared in the game. Those sales were soon stopped, but it took some backlash for EA to see that maybe it didn’t have the best idea in that case. EA is also already about to step into court with Bell Helicopter over the use of the aviation company’s vehicles in the Battlefield franchise. While there’s no legal precedent for the gun industry to attempt the same thing, it will be worth watching to see if the free advertising offered by a game like Battlefield 4 is enough to dissuade manufacturers like Colt from pursing litigation against EA.

What do you think of EA’s tactic? Is it a cop-out to still use the name brand weapons without paying, or is EA really making a statement you can get behind?

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