EA refuses to licence guns and war paraphernalia in its action games this year

"A book doesn't pay for saying the word Colt."

EA won't pay arms manufacturers for licensed digital replicas of their guns and war paraphernalia in its action games - Battlefield 4 - this year. But it will use them anyway.

EA is asserting a constitutional free speech right to use the trademarks without permission. "We're telling a story and we have a point of view. A book doesn't pay for saying the word Colt, for example," EA's Frank Gibeau told Reuters.

That tomahawk.

EA has been licensing guns for donkey's years in its games, and Simon Parkin investigated this deep and dark relationship between guns and games for Eurogamer in an extensive article at the start of the year.

But deals that used to involve relatively little money and participation from either side became gradually more involved, until last year they reached a kind of fever pitch with Medal of Honor, which linked to branded real world weaponry from its website - you could buy a Medal of Honor tomahawk, for instance, and the internet went mental.

"We won't do that again," senior spokesperson Jeff Brown added to Reuters. "The action games we will release this year will not include licensed images of weapons."

Then followed the terrible Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, and video games faced the ire of even the National Rifle Association in the US.

Gun manufacturers wouldn't talk to Reuters about what EA's stance means going forwards, but the position is already being tested by aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter, which hit EA with a cease and desist for its unlicensed depiction of aircraft in Battlefield 3. EA pre-emptively sued Bell Helicopter's parent company Textron in retaliation, citing the First Amendment.

Activision, which uses branded weaponry in Call of Duty, wouldn't comment.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (140)

About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (140)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store