That’s not really a surprise given Fox’s record with gamers in terms of misleading their audience with self-styled media pundits and so-called experts who obliquely ignore the ratings on the actual product or who have never played the game in the first place. Facts? What facts?
It wasn’t that long ago that Mass Effect went through the same thing on Fox. In the analysis that followed, the ‘expert’ that Fox had called to the floor – Cooper Lawrence – who made Mass Effect out to be promoting pornography was lambasted by those that had actually played the game. See, she didn’t play it – but felt in her expert opinion that it was primarily what the game was about and ran with it. It’s as if someone had blamed the film, Pirates of the Caribbean, for promoting Somali piracy without even seeing the movie.
She actually apologized, even though Fox never did. But that hasn’t stopped Fox from finding experts that now blame games for the increase in rape statistics across the nation without any real statistics to back up that correlation. Once again, the audience is left to take the word of these ‘experts’ at face value without so much as hard evidence.
Fox went on to draw in Bulletstorm as the perfect example of why the youth of America are falling by the wayside. Now, Bulletstom IS a violent game. That’s why it’s rated M, for Mature, meaning that it should only be played by adults 18 and over. Not by a nine year old that Fox has been quoted in saying will be playing games just like it.
Short of handling game sales like the TSA handles airports, you’re still going to see parents buy kids the games they want because they either don’t care or don’t know any better. In my time in retail, I’ve seen parents do this – we deny the kid the sale, then he/she brings in their grumpy parent to wonder why we did that and use their credit card to get the game anyway. It happens.
EA has hit back with a statement defending Bulletstorm and likening it to similar fare such as Sin City or Kill Bill which is fine since both of those films are rated appropriately and are clearly intended for older audiences. Games for adults should be treated in the same way, but according to Fox, they’re not. Still, I’m not expecting Fox to issue an apology for this, either, or for any of their experts to recant what they’ve said. After all, they’ve got their fifteen minutes of fame.