Analysts criticise EA's MOH Taliban cut
Pachter: "No uproar about Nazis in COD."
Videogame analysts have criticised EA for renaming Medal of Honor's Taliban faction to Opposing Force, one even accusing the US company of "caving in".
Today EA confirmed it had dropped the Taliban moniker for the faction that fights against Allied forces in the multiplayer section of the game.
It said it took the decision in response to feedback from soldiers and their families.
"I'm a little surprised and disappointed," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told Eurogamer.
"I think that the political pressure is pretty silly, and don't think most gamers care. While it's definitely in bad taste to play as the Taliban, it's historically accurate to portray the conflict as having two sides, and technically appropriate to allow a player to play either side.
"The crazy thing is that there has been no uproar about the ability to play the Nazis in Call of Duty multiplayer, and that's been offered for a long time.
"Nobody can claim that the Taliban are any more evil than the Nazis, but apparently the Politically Correct police don't care about bad guys from their parents' or grandparents' generation.
"My preference is to see developers make games the way that they want, and to let the market decide if it's a good idea or a bad idea. In this case, the backlash wasn't from the gaming community, but from the press, and I think it's a mistake to cave in.
"For the record, I'm not a fan of the Taliban, and wouldn't mind seeing them fight the Nazis in a game, so that no matter who wins, one of them always loses - sort of like Alien vs. Predator."
Last month EA CEO John Riccitiello blamed the controversy surrounding Medal of Honor on the media.
"No one noticed [the game] ... until a journalist decided to put the game box in front of a mom who'd lost her son in Afghanistan to create some controversy," he said. "I think that says more about the newspapers than it does the game industry."
Colin Sebastian, of Lazard Capital Markets, said EA "probably wants to have its cake and eat it too".
"The game has already benefited from a lot of free publicity from the Taliban issue, and so they can now take the high road and remove that label from the game.
"On the other hand, I suspect they also don't want to take the risk that the issue blows out of proportion and distracts from the other qualities of the game."
Jesse Divnich, vice president of Capital Research at EEDAR, labelled EA's decision "absurd".
"Personally, I would have implemented at least the option to toggle between the word Taliban and OpFor.
"And what is most absurd about all of this is simply a name, a seven letter word. They are not changing how the game looks, plays, or feels, they are simply doing a 'Find All: Taliban, Replace With: OpFor'.
"I hope those who opposed Medal of Honor's release woke up this morning with a smile on their face, only to look themselves in the mirror and realize how hallow of a victory they've truly won."
Medal of Honor will release for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on 15th October.