EA head man John Riccitiello is not happy with the media surrounding EA’s upcoming Afghanistan-set Medal of Honor redux. The controversy in question is due to the fact that EA included in the game the option of playing as the Taliban. Many people are in an uproar stating that EA should remove the option for patriotism. The fact that no gamers who participated in the Beta had anything negative to say does indeed make a point for the CEO. The reason for the outpouring of negative press is due to the fact that players have the option of participating as the Taliban in the game. A fact that has the EA CEO in retaliation mode:
“The controversy… kind of caught me by surprise,” he told attendees and investors at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in California yesterday.
“I think that says more about the newspapers than it does the game industry. Having said that we’re incredibly sensitive to the challenges that a non-gamer who doesn’t really understand what I’ve just described might imagine when a journalist who also doesn’t understand a game describes it to her.”
“It tends to excite a little bit of angst.”
Riccitiello does believe that Medal of Honor can and will compete with the other two huge FPS games coming out this year. Halo Reach has already opened up to huge numbers and Call of Duty Black Ops is expected to be a huge hit as well.
“We expect to significantly increase our share in FPS this year. It’s 2011 that we’ve always felt we can have a reasonable shot at recapturing the leadership. And from when we said that till 2011 that now seems possible.”
It remains to be seen whether the negative press will do anything to harm the sales of Medal of Honor. Gamestops on Military Bases have already banned the game from being sold unless EA removed the option of playing as the Taliban. They will not do so. Will this hurt the sales of the game? Only time will tell. With a IP looming from Respawn, the company started up by Infinity Ward’s founders and in a partnership with EA, companies are trying their best to turn negative attention EA’s way.