Electronic Arts

EA to stop paying arms manufacturers for gun licenses, while still using the guns

EA to stop paying arms manufacturers for gun licenses, while still using the guns

Last year, in the midst of a perceived epidemic of gun violence in America, companies like EA and Activision found themselves in an awkward position during a wave of introspection in the gaming business. These companies faced accusations that they were helping to popularize real-life assault weapons and military tactics, while also funding arms manufacturers through licensing deals.

EA also found themselves under fire, ahem, when the Medal of Honor website directly linked to sites where players could buy the guns and accessories found in the game. During a time when the industry was trying to fight the idea that virtual gun violence leads to real-world gun violence, that might not have been the best move. EA quickly removed offending blog posts and the partner site after stories about the promotion went live.

According to EA, one of those problematic positions ends now. In a story released by the Reuters news agency, it was revealed that EA no longer plans to pay arms manufacturers for the right to use their products in EA games.

That doesn't mean that the guns will go away, however. EA will no longer pay arms manufacturers for the right to use their weapons. They're just going to do it and not pay them.

“We're telling a story and we have a point of view,” EA's President Frank Gibeau told Reuters. “A book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example.”

Whether or not this stance is actually legal is still a matter that is up for debate. EA will be forced to defend their ideas on copyright theory in court in June, when they'll be arguing against Bell Helicopter for the right to use their aircraft without paying royalties.