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How Videogames Help Fund the Arms Industry 410

FhnuZoag writes "Eurogamer has an expose of the shady world of games developers licensing guns. From the article: '"We must be paid a royalty fee — either a one-time payment or a percentage of sales, all negotiable. Typically, a licensee pays between 5 per cent to 10 per cent retail price for the agreement. [...] We want to know explicitly how the rifle is to be used, ensuring that we are shown in a positive light... Such as the 'good guys' using the rifle," says [Barett Rifles'] Vaughn.'"
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How Videogames Help Fund the Arms Industry

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  • Shady? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @01:51PM (#42752625)

    So there's a copyrighted look, a trademarked name, and a patented design. Players demand real brand-name stuff in their games, so developers deliver by licensing real brand-name stuff in their games. To do this legally means getting a license.

    What's so shady about that?

  • What Is Shady?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2013 @01:53PM (#42752657)

    That they're licensing a company's depictions of a legal product? Can you explain how this would be different than licensing cars, planes, soft drinks, sports teams, comic book characters or anything else that goes into a video game? What exactly is new about this story that isn't already well known?

    This article is pure flamebait. Slashdot should be better than this, but I guess the website traffic must be trending down.

  • by kwiqsilver ( 585008 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @01:57PM (#42752735)
    Gun runners? Are you implying that companies like Colt, FN, and Barrett are smuggling illicit firearms to drug cartels and African warlords? They sell almost exclusively to the US government...which is far worse.
  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:00PM (#42752781)

    How can they copyright the look when so many are so close?

    Without the trademarks can you really tell the difference between a COLT AR15 and a Bushmaster or an Olympic Arms? The patents on those designs have surely run out.

    As far as I can tell for all but the newest guns the only issue should be trademarks.

    It's not that I don't agree, but how is that shady when the game developers are licensing the designs? If anything, that's a problem with the way copyright/trademark/patents work.

    I don't really understand this article. Would it be less shady if the game developers just stuck brand names in their games without licenses? Would it be less shady if they were petitioning to the courts that rule the designs can't be copyrighted? Would it be less shady if the license agreements didn't come with a catch on usage? I'm pretty sure Disney wouldn't license Mickey to a game that intends to throw him into a wood chipper and would drop a bomb on Disneyland.

    Maybe I'm looking for some deep meaning other than "oh, look, it's just like everything else branded but with guns"

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:06PM (#42752873) Homepage

    You must of missed all the news for the past month. "Guns" are the new "terrorism".

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:08PM (#42752917)

    But remember, guns are evil right now in group think. So are video games. So if it involves guns and video games it must be double EEEEVIL.

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DiscountBorg(TM) ( 1262102 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:16PM (#42753057)

    The arms manufacturers are actually anything but shady in the article, as they've been transparent about the entire process (the games industry would have looked a lot better in this article if they had acted the same way, rather than acting defensively, although we've no way of knowing exactly what questions they were asked).

    This article does a great job pointing out the 'shadiness' of the NRA's about-face in participating in the video games industry, then turning around and declaring it the root of all evil. I think really, what this article demonstrates though if anything, is that the average consumer doesn't stop to think about how every realistic item that appears in media is probably either licensed or promotional.

  • by Migraineman ( 632203 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:22PM (#42753135)
    I would imagine that this situation exists for games featuring cars, airplanes, or any other product that has a corporate brand identity. But a headline decrying "Video Games Fund the Automotive Industry" just doesn't have any punch.
  • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:41PM (#42753305)

    I believe the Resident Evil series uses more generic names (or at least it used to). Goldeneye 007 (N64) is a good example of a game that uses similar-sounding names, such as PP7 instead of PPK. It doesn't really make that much of a difference in 99.9% of the situation.

    However, there are people who like their games to be as authentic as possible. Would the Madden series be so popular if the teams were made-up? Would Gran Turismo be popular if it had fake cars? (Okay, it does have some fake cars, but the vast majority are real.) For a game that strives for realism, little details like names and model numbers make a big difference.

    Furthermore, I have to object with the assertion that the licensing deals are "shady". It is the same kind of deal as is made with car manufacturers, sports teams, etc. To call it shady is to reveal your political bias.

  • Re:Why this is bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:46PM (#42753355) Journal
    Van Halen used to have a clause in their performance contracts that they must be provided with a bowl of MM's with the brown ones picked out. What does 'fairness' have to do with a legal civil contract?
  • Exactly these games are all about selling a specific FANTASY about war, in that fantasy everybody is Rambo and nobody is Joe Blow the nameless nobody getting the shit jobs like digging ditches or hauling canned goods, its all fantasy.

    And those specific guns play into that fantasy, which is why you see the same damned guns in every game, just as you can't sell a football game in the USA without the NFL because those logos and outfits all play into the armchair quarterback's fantasy of being the big football star.

    So on the one hand while I'm no fan of arms dealers and think we've been overboard for many years when it comes to what can and can't be copyrighted on the other hand these companies know EXACTLY what guns to get, they've done countless focus groups and know EXACTLY what the people that play those games want which is why we see the same thing over and over. While I personally find it boring as hell and would rather play something like Borderlands with infinite variation if somebody is willing to pay the money to play with virtual military hardware? Meh whatever floats your boat I guess.

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 31, 2013 @03:14PM (#42753701) Journal

    Because some on the ultra far left don't like anything to do with guns or violence and try to make anything to do with either look evil/shady/sexist/racist or whatever other PC "bad" words you can affix?

    Look I don't care what you believe as long as I'm allowed to believe differently, the classic "your right to swing your fist ends at my nose" argument but just because you don't like something doesn't make it "bad" or wrong or evil, that is classic political demonization of those that disagree. i had an argument recently with an ultra lefty who was moaning about the lack of female avatars in modern shooters. I simply said "Take a game like Bulletstorm where I get a "ball buster" achievement for blowing a guy's crotch off. Would you have a problem if there were females in the game and there was a "sex change" achievement for blowing off her tits?"

    The answers i got illustrated better than anything how you are NOT allowed to think differently than them because i was just a monster for daring to even suggest that, their answer was NOT to simply not have females in the game as devs do now but to remove the violence against the males which if you are gonna remove the violence in games why the fuck even call them games anymore? Just call them Second Life and let everybody be forced to have tea parties and shit.

    At the end of the day I do NOT give a rat's ass about hyper realistic shooters but you know what? I would NEVER EVER say you shouldn't be able to play 'em. if shooting a gun so perfectly modeled that even the bullet drop is accurate to within a tenth of an inch over 1000 yards makes you happy? More power to you and I'm glad somebody will cater to your tastes, boring as i find them. But just because i personally don't care for something doesn't give me the right to demonize anybody that does, but sadly we see that behavior on both the ultra left (anything they consider violent or nationalistic) and on the right (the poor and minorities to a certain degree) but we need to call that shit when it happens and instantly dismiss it as the bullshit that it is. You can have a discussion without demonizing the other side and if the ONLY way you can make your argument is to make the other side "evil" then perhaps the problem isn't the other side but the shakiness of your argument.

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @03:24PM (#42753823)

    5-10% of retail sales is a *lot*.

    In fact, it is so freakin huge that it makes me doubt the veracity of the story.
    10% of gross is going to be at least 20% of net. I just don't see anyone thinking that including trademarked gun designs is worth 20% of the profit of a video grame.

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 31, 2013 @03:25PM (#42753829) Journal

    But honestly how could you expect them to act ANY differently when moral watchdog types have been treating them like 50s watchdogs treated rock n' roll for what? 30+ years now? I mean what was one of the FIRST THINGS that the media start harping about when the Sandy Hook shooting happened? "Did Lanza...gasp!...Play...dum dum games?" I swear I saw articles with that as the fucking headline not 24 hours after the damned shooting!

    So I don't blame the video games industry one little bit, they've had wrinkled old farts trying to get them since the days of fricking Night Trap. Remember its not paranoia if they really ARE out to get you, and articles like TFA show that the answer to that is a definite YES they are out to get the video games industry.

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zzsmirkzz ( 974536 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @03:26PM (#42753839)

    Like candy cigarettes, any advertising of an inherently dangerous/deadly product towards an adolescent target audience probably should be carefully scrutinized, regulated, or eliminated.

    No, that is incorrect. It is the parent's responsibility to scrutinize, regulate or eliminate undesired advertisements directed towards their children/adolescents (for any reason). It is not the Government's job. Period. Don't like the additional responsibility of being a parent, don't have kids.Also, kids aren't the only target audience of video games (especially of this type).

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday January 31, 2013 @03:45PM (#42754055) Homepage Journal

    ... because we all know that the best way of protecting children is to keep them in a bubble until they turn 18 and then can do whatever they want, right?

    Yes, they'll turn out very well if we don't expose them to any "dangerous information" before then. Don't teach them about guns, or tools, or drugs or sex, or anything that might rock the boat (especially to question authority). They'll be fine to figure out all these things on their own with low information. That's how to be a good parent these days.

  • Actually most of the products you can identify in movies have either had the rights paid for by the movie company or if the movie is a big name flick will often get money from the company in return for showing their product in a favorable light. Why do you think every person that uses a laptop in a movie is always using a MacBook when IRL that is less than 10% of the population? Product placement.

    So its not like you haven't been seeing the same thing in hollywood for years, with the smaller movies paying a fee for licensing while the big names get the product for free or even get a check for showing it, its common practice. Watch the horribly bad movie "Jack & Jill" sometime which rumor has it even though it bombed Sandler and pals actually came out ahead thanks to how much product placement was in that movie. they might as well have called it "Jack and Jill, sponsored by *" for all the products from dunkin donuts to Sony electronics you see on the screen. i honestly don't think there is 4 minutes in the whole movie where a logo isn't visible, its THAT obvious.

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday January 31, 2013 @03:47PM (#42754089) Homepage Journal

    But remember, guns are evil right now in group think.

    Only if you get your information from the media/government complex. If you go talk to real people in person, you'll see that it's only the radical fringe that thinks that way. Trouble is, some of them were savvy enough to take control of the media in the 50's.

  • Shut UP.
    You can make a point and offer criticism without experiencing it.

    can't walk a tight rope, but when I see someone fall off one I can say 'That wasn't good'

    People who use that type of 'logic' are when is wrong with people today.
    It's a legitimate concern.
    Misplaced in this case becasue that event is pretty well documented.

  • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 31, 2013 @04:39PM (#42754773) Journal

    Oh please! Call it what it was, which several agents even called it, a "false flag operation" to try to build a connection where none existed of American guns going to Mexican dope dealers so they could try to push tougher gun laws HERE.

    And its not even the first time the US government has been busted pulling a false flag, 58,000 Americans and countless Vietnamese died thanks to the false flag Gulf of Tonkin incident, and just like in this case the full details won't be learned until the principals involved are long dead and can't be prosecuted, then the MSM will just do a "Oh BTW" and then act like we should just pretend it never happened, just like Vietnam.

    The simple fact is Mexican dope dealers can just trade their dope to any of the Bumfuckistan former Warsaw Pact countries and get all the Soviet era fully auto weapons they want, including grenades and rocket launchers and even a fricking sub if they want one, they don't need American semi auto anything which is why they had to cook up "Fast & Furious" because the data they were finding showed the vast majority were carrying AK47s, just like every other guerrilla force on the planet NOT American guns.

    THIS is why they should be rotting in jail, THIS is why we need a full investigation, not because somebody fucked up and people got killed but because you have the US government running a false flag op on its own people to try to manipulate them into going along with the political plans of the ones pulling the op.

  • Re:Shady? Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @06:19PM (#42755981) Homepage

    That is the really stupid thing about the argument. Outlawing private ownership of pools would save more lives than outlawing guns. And pools have no positive attributes, they are a pure luxury item that kill many people each year. Guns on the other hand save people in many situations and are a tool that can be used for good at least sometimes.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam