Update: EA’s Dante Team has apologized “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.” The team further explained that “commit acts of lust” is “simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with costumed reps.” Full statement here. Original post below.
Electronic Arts is no stranger to controversial PR stunts, so maybe I’m playing right into the company’s hands by decrying its latest giveaway for Dante’s Inferno. Whatever, I’ll risk it.
Have a look at the contest flyer, as posted on Kotaku. The idea is for San Diego Comic Con attendees to take pictures of themselves with booth babes and send them in to EA. The more pictures sent, the more entries in the contest. EA calls these photo ops “Acts of Lust.”
To the winner, the contest promises “Dinner and a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty.” The innuendo is cringe-inducing.
In a way, I’ve got to hand it to EA for pointing out the very backwards aspect of the games industry that unashamedly degrades women. If only the gaming blogs covering the story could see the forest from the trees. Destructoid, for example, cries foul despite having no problem celebrating booth babes during E3.
And then there’s the game itself, poor Dante’s magnum opus dumbed down to yet another male power fantasy, and a God of War wannabee to boot. I guess EA figured it had already lost the female demographic by turning a cautionary tale on sin into a hack-and-slash bloodbath. Why not alienate them completely?
Stunts like these — and booth babes themselves — give gaming a bad name, but it’s only made worse when related to a work that’s treated with dignity in any other medium. Game publishers have gone to some incredibly puzzling lengths for publicity before, but this is the most offensive example I’ve seen, in more ways than one.