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Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

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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  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @01:51PM (#42752627)

    I was thinking more like counter strike handled it.

    Instead of a desert eagle, they had a deagle, instead of a Arctic Warfare Magmun, they had the AWP. Stuff like that.

    I think the BFG is far enough from real weapons to avoid licensing costs.

  • by gmcraff ( 61718 ) <gmcraff AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:14PM (#42753029)

    If you're going to make a game set in WW2, you model real WW2 weapons.

    If your game is set anywhere from 1990 to 2050, and you're trying to model real-world combat situations (with varying degrees of accuracy), then you'll have to model real world firearms. Due to the durability of firearms and the essentially mature technology, you could expect current technology and models to be used for decades. Consider the 1911 pistol for example: that's not a just a model number, that's the year it was introduced. It's also the most common handgun used by serious competitors today.

    Savvy gamers today just aren't going to buy it if their High Intensity Combat Operative character in the game is deploying with Generic Intermediate Caliber Select Fire Rifle firing the combat tested 5.44x40mm Solid Lead to Ashcanistan to fight the nefarious Ethnically and Ideologically Unidentifiable Terrorist Organization. They want their DEVGRU to drop out of a Lockheed C-130J into Timbuktu carrying a Colt M-4 Carbine with a Trijicon ACOG on top so they can put a 5.56mm NATO round into the tuches of a Al Qaeda splinter group that's trying to destroy a UN World Heritage site. (Licensing fees paid for all those trademarks.)

    If you want to make stuff up, you've got to set your story a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, or some other equivalent narrative technique to put distance between what the player knows and the game-world contains. You can fake medieval weapons. You can't fake modern fire-arms in present-day settings.
  • by WillgasM ( 1646719 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:20PM (#42753105) Homepage
    In CS:S the names were changed in the buy menus, but had real-world names in console.
  • Who Can Blame Them? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:57PM (#42753473)

    "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,"

    Bushmaster's parent company, Cerberus Capital, has decided to divest itself [] of Bushmaster and the other arms companies under the Freedom Group umbrella. This was ostensibly done in response to the Newtown shooting, i.e. on account the illegal actions undertaken by a deranged boy, and not even one of their customers, with the use of one of their products. Certain segments of the public blame the company itself.

    Imagine for a moment that the same company had knowingly allowed its products to be used in video games for nefarious purposes. Imagine the game was like Carmageddon from the nineties and you could get extra points for shooting hookers. Or, more likely, you could use the gun when acting as terrorists in some C-Strike like bombing scenario. And then that same gun with the same brand was used in real life to do harm to innocents. What would the repercussions be then? Some will say that the requirement the gun only be used by the 'good guys' is PR or propaganda, and they're partly right. But there's another side to this. A company who can be blamed for the misuse of its products has to try all the harder to defend itself and its image from association with that misuse.

  • by nugatory78 ( 971318 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @03:21PM (#42753769)
    this topic makes me curious. Why do games bother to license the names and images? if I make a movie and want a gun in it, I don't ask permission of the manufacturer, I can even use its real name. Same goes for any real world product that gets used in the movies. How is using it in a game any different? Of course as hairyfeet points out, there is a lot of new laws on the books that could change all the rules. The obvious answer is that they will sue you, and try their best to make it unprofitable for you.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie