Yes, the recent news of Taliban being pulled out
of the latest Medal of Honor
game does have a stink of giving in to controversy, and failing to stick to principles.
But was the controversy the reason this change was made, or was it more from gamers who genuinely wouldn't have bought the game if this was left in?
This notion isn't new. In 2001, Time Magazine considered naming Osama Bin Laden their "Person of the Year". Now this was a while before he officially took credit, but it was still clear for most people that he had a hand in September 11.
Now here was the sticky point. Bin Laden really did have the strongest effect on that year. Principle meant that he should have been named.
But people were threatening to pull their subscriptions if he was. That isn't a mere controversy, that is lost sales and revenue. They could not afford to stand on any high horse and tell their subscribers they were wrong should continue to buy the magazine anyway. Time chose mayor Giuliani instead rather than look like they were honoring America's most wanted man. Now before some of you bring up Hitler being given that title in 1938, that was 1938. Imagine him being getting that title for 1945, after all the atrocities of his regime were revealed.
It's just as likely EA faced a similar situation. What if what caused removing the Taliban wasn't from people who weren't going to buy the game anyway (like people from Fox News about Mass Effect
), or were going to buy the game anyway ("They made Sonic's eyes GREEN
!"), but from people who would have bought the game, but including the Taliban actually would have been a deal breaker?
Thus I refer you all to "I can't support the new Medal of Honor"
. This isn't from an attention hound on the news, nor a whiny fanboy. This is someone stating very politely and respectfully that he does not like the inclusion of the Taliban in the game. Now Aziz does not say outright that he's not buying the game, but what if others are?
What if EA found it likely that some people would refuse to buy the game for including a this group? We can't tell those people they are wrong. It's not like gaming fans who follow message boards and gaming news, and therefore should know better. These are people who would see the game and likely walk away.
EA cannot afford that, not after all their quarters of losses. If this game loses sales due to people turned away, principles cannot make up for that loss.
It seems sad that principles have to be sacrificed for money, but this isn't an underdog triumphs film.