SDCC: EA to prostitute its booth babes for you, the customer
5:00 PM on 07.24.2009 // Joseph Leray
Oooh Lord. Where to even start with this one? Let's get right to it: Electronic Arts and Visceral Games have cooked up another awful PR campaign for Dante's Inferno called "Sin to Win." If alienating Catholic gamers at last month's E3 wasn't bad enough, Visceral and EA can mark "women" off the list of potential buyers.
Here's the set up: commit an "act of lust" by taking a photo with any booth babe at this year's Comic-Con; submit the photo via the @Danteteam Twitter or on Facebook; win a date with "two hot girls." In short, as if being a booth babe weren't already creepy enough, EA has given everyone at Comic Con some extra incentive to ogle not only their own booth babes, but any booth babe at the con.
To be honest, I don't really know how to feel about this. One the one hand, the job description for "model" opens women up to this sort of thing: models exist, inherently, to be objectified and sell products. Obviously, these girls don't have any moral opposition to it, or they wouldn't have taken their clothes off and signed EA's contract (not necessarily in that order.) Besides, pictures with booth babes are a convention staple -- it's going to happen either way.
On the other hand, there's something repulsive about offering people up as prizes in your PR stunt, especially given game culture's bad habit of over-sexualizing its female characters anyway. And while our beautiful free market ideally allows booth babes to opt out of stunts like this at their discretion, let's be realistic: living in California ain't cheap and the rent still has to get paid. Even if there's nothing technically wrong going on here, it's still sleazy and, at the very least, alienating.
To make things worse, EA seems to have its wires crossed here. Even though the flyer (in the gallery) says "take a photo," it also says "commit an act of lust." I've seen some of the more, ahem, creative photos you guys have managed to come up with for our contests (or just for lulz), and I can't imagine what the people at Comic-Con will come up with. Too bad it won't win them anything: the contest has a legal disclaimer disqualifying any mention of sex.
Not to mention that EA has stupidly opened this up for any booth babe on the floor. I'm sure whoever is working, say, the Capcom booth didn't sign up for this sh*t. You stay classy, Electronic Arts.
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