With somewhat disturbing news.  Yeah… news.  Non-WoW related news.  Actual News! *Shock Horror!*

I had a really fun, cheery post all lined up to write today.  Honest, I did!  It had pets, and flowers, and bumblebees… well, ok, it just had the pets, Illidan, and a few friends.  But still… cheery, right?

Then something was brought to my attention by the ever-wonderful Wynthea.  Something not WoW related, but so repugnant that we as a gaming community should be decrying it at every possible venue at the top of our voices.  Hell, I’ll type with caps lock on if need be, in bold, italicised and underlined.  Now, I might get some backlash here… I know that I have shown my feminist side before, and a lot of people disagreed with me then.  However, this is completely beyond anything that I have ever imagined.

I have never been to any form of gaming, comic, anime, sci-fi… well, ANY form of convention in my life.  I don’t know if this crap is normal, although the community’s reaction to it just gives me a small small idea that it is not.  Apparently there are people known as ‘booth babes’ at Comic-Con, whom in my mind I imagine being similar in role to the Meter Maids that we have at the Gold Coast in Australia, or the women who promote various alcoholic beverages in clubs and pubs occasionally.  Attractive young women who hand out free stuff and market a product.  Sound about right?

That in itself is fine with me.  Young attractive women have been used to market products for a very long time, and I am sure that many of the people who have such a career enjoy it immensely.  However, when your company’s promotion allows and encourages people to violate these women, their employees, there is something very wrong.

Enter EA Games.  I’m sure you have all heard of them, perhaps played a game or two of theirs (I know I was a Sims junkie for years).  At Comic-Con, they had ‘booth babes’ promoting a new game called Dante’s Inferno.  One would guess that it is all about Hell and Sin and all that sort of fuss and bother.  Whether it’s based upon the novel, who knows (although I doubt it).  A major aspect of their promotion was the following:

sintowinbig1.  “Commit acts of lust”: Take a Photo with us or any Booth Babe.  One would imagine that they might be after at least mildly suggestive photos from the wording.

2.  Spam the photo on the internet so the world can see just how big a stud you are!

3.  Rinse and Repeat

Now, I am sure that the original intention was not to have people taking photos of themselves and their mates violating or sexually harassing the booth babes.  I am fairly sure that all you would have to do would be to get a photo with them.  However, we all know how these competitions go… you end up with people trying to one-up each other, coming up with more ‘dramatic’ ideas as the day goes on.  Nowhere does it say that you can not touch the booth babes, harass the booth babes, or in any other way violate the booth babes.  Sure, a logical person would assume this is so.  However, not all people are logical, especially when they are caught up in the moment.

Then we have the prize… a sinful night with TWO girls (since one just isn’t enough for the wannabe stud with a camera on the town), and a chest full of booty (clearly intended to link to the actual chest depicted… yay for punning!)  What the fricking hell, EA?  Way to encourage and foster respect for women!

Now, I am lazy, and can’t be bothered rewording my initial reaction… so here it is, nicely copy/pasted from Facebook.

“The gaming industry seems to occasionally forget that its core demographic is no longer teenage boys. Pulling stunts like this doesn’t help the industry attract female gamers, and further serves to widen the rift between women and the small, irritating "OMG women on the internet?! lolz!" group of gamers. I am also sure that the average gamer wouldn’t appreciate garbage like this.
This article makes me awfully glad that I haven’t purchased an EA game in a very long time. What was their marketing strategy for the Sims 3 – you get to order about a bunch of EA employees and take photos of them doing your will? Unlikely!”

Now, the outcry against this was so huge that EA put out an apology… temporarily.  Apparently it is no longer available on the website, but a couple of savvy people screenshotted it before EA took it down.  The apology was as follows:

We understand there’s a lot of debate right now around our ‘Sin to Win’ promotion at Comic-Con and wanted to clarify a few things.  We created this promotion as a part of our marketing efforts around the circle of Lust (one of the nine sins/circles of Hell).  Each month we will be focusing on a new Circle of hell.  This month is Lust.  Costumed reps are a tradition at Comic-Con.  In the spirit of both the Circle of Lust and Comic-Con, we are encouraging attendees to Tweet photos of themselves with any of the costumed reps at Comic-Con here, find us on Facebook or via e-mail.  “Commit acts of lust” is simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with reps.  Also, a “Night of Lust” means only that the winner will receive a chaperoned VIP night on the town with the Dante’s Inferno reps, all expenses paid, as well as other prizes.

We apologise for any confusion and offense that resulted from our choice of wording, and want to assure you that we take your concerns and sentiments seriously.  We’ll continue to follow your comments and please let us know if you have any other thoughts or concerns.  Keep watching as the event unfolds and we hope you’ll agree with us that it was all done in the spirit of the good natured fun of Comic-Con.

Uh huh.  Right.  Certainly sounds ‘good natured’ and ‘fun’.  Like getting a large object poked up your butt.  Hmmm, I wonder if anyone tried to do that for a photo?

So, my question is… if this is how they are promoting the sin of Lust, what are they going to do for all the other sins? Hot dog eating contests?  Lying on sofa contests?  What do you think?

4 Responses to “We Interrupt Your Scheduled WoW Post…”
  1. Everything about this game, thus far at least, has been disgraceful.

    For one they are taking one of the last epic poems of the western world and turning what was a morality play into a bad God of War clone. Could they have hewed closer to the source material? Sure. How about an adventure game that has the player trying to piece together the stories of the victims of the various circles of hell? Perhaps you could get flashbacks of the individuals’ lives triggered by artifacts in the environment, during which you might play out their last moments to figure out why they were doomed to the fate they find themselves in. Or continuing on in that vain, perhaps you could “save” people Minority Report style by figuring out and stopping whatever action they were to take that would have resulted in a mortal sin.

    The game aside, the marketing campaign has already upset quite a number of people. At E3 they stationed fake protesters outside the convention hall, calling for EA to stop production of the game because it promoted the devil, distorted Christianity, etc. No one knew for most of the week that these protesters weren’t real Christian gamers upset about the game. Instead, in so far as people took the protesters seriously, they saw them as convenient caricatures of their idea of Christian fundamentalists.

    The current “lust” campaign is even worse and I agree with everything you’ve said. I only regret that its very ridiculousness has generated even more buzz around a game that should be forgotten before it is ever released.
    .-= Sean´s last blog ..Bring Out Your Dead! =-.

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  2. [...] politically correct snafu. The blogosphere is no exception. Explaining it better then me is Destructive Reach, who is appalled at this, and Syp, who kind of says it’s not EA’s fault, but part of a [...]

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  3. I don’t think EA thought this out fully. Obviously. They and others hire booth babes to wear provocative clothing and sell their product. I’m sure they are harassed without EA advertising it. Does it make it right? Of course not. But EA certainly didn’t start it.

    Dante’s Inferno is obviously being advertised to guys. Sex is a way to get some guys to pay attention, go figure. They’ll be advertising the other sins that will get other guys to pay attention. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t think it should of caused the uproar it did. (I don’t mean you specifically btw, this isn’t the first time I’ve read of angry people at this.)
    .-= Kirei´s last blog ..The 6 Most Talked About Changes in 3.2 =-.

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  4. I am glad someone chose to finally clear things up on this. I have puzzled over it frequently. :)

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