Marketing ties violent video games to gun companies

Despite the NRA chief's objections to games like "Grand Theft Auto," gun companies benefit from marketing tie-ins

By Jillian Rayfield

Published December 26, 2012 4:49PM (EST)

During his remarks in the wake of the Newtown school shootings, NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre essentially blamed everything except for guns -- including video games -- for the proliferation of gun violence.

"Here's another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people," LaPierre said on Friday. "Through vicious, violent video games with names like BulletstormGrand Theft AutoMortal Kombat and Splatterhouse."

But as the New York Times reports today, the gun industry is, in fact, closely tied to the video game industry, because both benefit from marketing tie-ins. One example the Times cites is Electronic Arts' "Medal of Honor Warfighter" game, for which EA created a promotional website that touted the gun, knife and combat gear manufacturers represented in the game, including the gun company the McMillan Group and Magpul, which sells high-capacity magazines.

From the Times:

While studies have found no connection between video games and gun violence, the case of Medal of Honor Warfighter illustrates how the firearms and video game industries have quietly forged a mutually beneficial marketing relationship.

Many of the same producers of firearms and related equipment are also financial backers of the N.R.A. McMillan, for example, is a corporate donor to the group, and Magpul recently joined forces with it in a product giveaway featured on Facebook. The gun group also lists Glock, Browning and Remington as corporate sponsors.

Makers of firearms and related gear have come to see video games as a way to promote their brands to millions of potential customers, marketing experts said. Magpul and Electronic Arts made a video posted on YouTube about their partnership.


Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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