A "virtual showroom" linking Medal of Honor Warfighter to real-life products from its gunmaker marketing partners illustrates how the firearms and video game industries have "quietly forged a mutually beneficial marketing relationship," according to The New York Times.
The subpage on the official website for Medal of Honor Warfighter displayed information for the McMillan Group and Magpul, two weapon manufacturers, and allowed viewers to peruse guns, knives and other combat gear depicted in Warfighter. Magpul and EA have even filmed promotional videos for the game featuring the weapons. Initially the official "partners" site for Warfighter included both the logos for and links to a variety of weapon and military gear companies under the line "Authentic Game. Authentic Brands." While the logos and descriptions still exist, the links have since been removed.
EA representative Jeff Brown stated that the publisher took action after learning its site linked to its partners online catalogs.
"We felt it was inappropriate and took the links down," he said.
In a statement to The New York Times, EA compared game developers to film producers in that they "frequently license the images of people, sports franchises, buildings, cars and military equipment" to bring series like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor closer to reality. The company also stated it did not receive money from the manufacturers for using branded weapons in Medal of Honor.
"The gaming and entertainment industry routinely use likeness of our products without our permission," said Ted Novin of the Freedom Group, a Call of Duty franchise marketing partner. Novin told The New York Times that Freedom was not paid and did not pay for its weapons' representations in the games, and did not reply when asked if Activision had permission to use their products' likeness.
Several companies contacted by The New York Times, including Activision, McMillan, Magpul, handgun maker Glock, firearms manufacturer Browning and Barrett, and the National Rifle Association, did not provide comment.
The issue of weapons in video games and the connection between the two industries has come under increased scrutiny since the Newtown shooting earlier this month.