Cross promotion between products can be tricky. The products should have something in common, and even a potentially shared audience. If you find a mutually beneficial relationship, awesome! That's what EA just did when they decided to partner with such gun and gun accessory companies as LBT, the McMillan Group, and Surefire, LLC. Now when you get the authentic Medal of Honor game, you can get the authentic guns to go with it!
The reasons for the partnership aren't hard to figure out. Their stocks are tanking, especially after winning the golden poo for being the Worst Company in America, a less-than-stellar performance with Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the fact that their own target demographic (read: gamers) has grown accustomed to hating them as one hates their drug dealer. We really hate the way our dealer treats everyone, but damn we need that Battlefield fix hard!
The problem is that this partnership doesn't stop them from being the worst company in America. In fact, the fact that a video game company is actively trying to help sell guns probably makes them worse. You see, gun ownership isn't necessarily bad. It's a complicated issue not worth debating here. However, the games industry is still reeling from a media that is consistently trying to pin horrible atrocities on it including mass murders. As much as we say "game violence doesn't translate to real world violence" that argument suddenly becomes a lot weaker when our game companies are helping peddle the same tools used in these atrocities.
To be fair, these partnerships are being used to raise money for charity. It's called the Project Honor Program, and as a term of these partnerships, the weapon and gear manufacturers will donate to the Navy SEAL Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Honoring the military is of course a worthy cause, but EA did not have to resort to promoting gun sales to achieve this.
Further, it's questionable how much of this is even about charity. A look at their partners page shows absolutely no mention of Project Honor, the Navy SEAL Foundation, or the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Not even at the top of the page. You can click the individual blog links to find out more. London Bridge Trading specifically announced that all proceeds are going to charity, however Mechanix Wear Gloves makes no mention of their potential charitable contributions. For LBT, however, only the proceeds from specific Medal of Honor patches goes to charity. Their ballistic tac vests are all for them.
Other partners that make no mention of charity include weapon company McMillan Group International, tactical equipment company Surefire who assures you'll be able to "light someone up" (to be fair they make flashlights) with their assistance, scope and sight company Trijicon, weapon and tactical accessory manufacturer LaRue Tactical, optics manufacturer U.S. Optics, weapon designer and manufacturer Vicklers Tactical, sunglasses manufacturer Kaenon, magazine and accessory manufacturers Magpul, and finally knife and tool manufacturer SOG Specialty Knives and Tools. Partners that mentioned charitable contributions include London Bridge Trading if you buy their specific Medal of Honor patches. That's it. The website also promises more partners are to come.
What's interesting is the partnership also includes use of these very real products in the game. The blog posts specifically mention that. So not only does the Medal of Honor website encourage you to buy the weapons and accessories, but you will be enjoying some handy dandy product placement as well.
Let people play games. Let people buy guns. Don't let them be in the same place. Better yet, don't claim this is partially about charity unless you publicly make sure all those partners are announcing in what capacity they are donating. Otherwise it seems dishonest. All EA is doing right now is given credence to lingering prejudices against the gaming community with the intent of making some extra money.