Gamers Directly Fund the Gun Industry
As the New York Times, Forbes, Salon, and Slate, et al., have reported, video game producers have a vested interest in making their games as realistic as possible. They do so by partnering with gun manufacturers and offering product placement of real guns in their games. What you might not have know is that gun manufacturers actually receive royalties when their weapons appear in virtual reality—meaning that you, as the player or purchaser of those games, are directly contributing to the gun industry.
To be fair, playing video games featuring a Barrett, Berretta or Browning won’t make you more likely to buy a real Barrett firearm…Oh, wait, yes it will. That’s why companies use product placement to advertise their products. Advertising works.
Straight from the horse’s mouth: “It is hard to qualify to what extent rifle sales have increased as a result of being in games,” said Ralph Vaughn, a Barrett representative responsible for negotiating with video game developers. “But video games expose our brand to a young audience who are considered possible future owners.”
As EuroGamer author Simon Parkin reported in an article titled, “Shooters: How Video Games Fund Gun Manufacturers,” “real-life” guns “lend a sheen of authenticity to a game,” and that “the inclusion of brand names (is) necessary to remain faithful to the source material.”
The Times cited a press release from Cybergun, which negotiates licensing contracts between gun makers and video game producers: “In effect, War Inc. Battlezone will feature replica weapons from Cybergun’s catalogue, prompting players to use and buy its products. This will increase Cybergun’s impact wherever the game is offered—which is to say, practically worldwide.”
The Times also reported that the Medal of Honor website includes links to gun manufacturers’ websites, allowing users to “peruse their catalogs.”
A member of the Gameological Society was quoted as saying that it’s “almost like a virtual showroom for guns.” In fact, it is a virtual showroom for guns, but that’s beside the point. Providing links from a video game website to a gun catalogue is only greasing the wheels of gun commerce. It’s the brand names, the specs, and the ability to virtually test the products in the video game itself that earns gun manufacturers their royalties and helps them recruit future customers.
We already know that violent video games increase aggression and desensitize users to violence. Now we know that to purchase those games is to directly fund the gun industry.
If ever there was a time to give your kid a library card instead of buying him or her an Xbox, the time is now.
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