Electronic Arts Stages Protest of Dante's Inferno at E3

from the it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time dept

At the E3 Expo a few weeks ago, Electronic Arts showcased an upcoming game, Dante's Inferno, to awkward protests from a group of concerned Christians going under the name, "Salvationists Against Virtual and Eternal Damnation." They had signs like "Trade in your PlayStation for a PrayStation," "Cheat codes won't save your soul," and "Hell is not a game," as well as a 1996-esque website complete with animated GIFs and multi-colored all-caps text. The protest was covered by the LA Times, the San Jose Mercury News and many gaming blogs. That sort of controversy might make the game more appealing to some... except, EA admitted that the protest was entirely staged by the viral marketing firm that they hired (though, it didn't fool everyone).

As the popular gaming blog Joystiq puts it, there's got to be a better way to promote the game. A faux controversy might seem like a clever idea, until people realize it's just a publicity stunt. Plus, it doesn't seem very smart to alienate Christians when you could be selling them the game instead (as Thomas Peters from AmericanPapist.com writes, "getting to play Dante as he slashes his way through hell? It sure beats Tetris."). Electronic Arts recently landed in some hot water for another clever viral marketing idea, which involved shipping brass knuckles with the Godfather II press kit, despite mere possession being a first-degree misdemeanor in some states to which they were shipped. They get points for creativity, but they might want to think twice before acting on some of these ideas...


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  1.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 3:39am

    Too bad we can't resell this stupid stunt.

    Doesn't surprise me EA would spend so much money promoting a game, rather than spending it creating a good one.

    Especially when they publicly announce they're going to start catering to gamers who own a Wii console.

    EA is just a bad company now and represents what goes wrong when a company retains the #1 title of its field.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 4:08am

    Re: Too bad we can't resell this stupid stunt.

    EA has been a bad company for a long time. I know 3 programmers who each have worked at EA, on different teams, on different games, over a 4 year period.

    They all got treated like crap and were expected to work 80 hours a week to get a game out on time. Now I understand crunch time, but it shouldn't last for an 8 month period.

    Any company that treats their employees so poorly throws up warning signs to me. A cancer of poor judgment is eating EA from the inside out.

     

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  3.  
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    John, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 5:58am

    Whois search says this is bunk.

    http://wearesavedgroup.org/ In whois comes up as

    Admin Street2:15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
    Admin City:Scottsdale
    Admin State/Province:Arizona
    Admin Postal Code:85260
    Admin Country:US
    Admin Phone:+1.4806242599

    Google the address to get:

    Cleveland Gfe Escorts
    15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353 Scottsdale, Arizona United States, 85260
    work 216-961-8468

    I don't know what mature escorts and out spoken christians have in common...

     

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  4.  
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    fat Tony, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    As true as that may be

    1 & 2 Have legitimate points, but EA is trying. Those ideas are clever enough to be worthy of mention. EA isn't just sitting around pumping out commercials on the off chance someone will care.

    At the very least, I approve of the diversity they are showing. Making a game out of an incredible story is far better than stamping out copy after copy of generic sports game number three. Not to say those games aren't profitable, just not as creative.

    I will very likely buy Dante's Inferno. Admittedly not because of the protest gimmick...but because it appears to be a good game.

     

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  5.  
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    The Cenobyte, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:22am

    It's the law that's the problem

    The only problem with them sending brass knuckles to people in the press kit is that the law makers in some states are knuckle heads. In todays world having a melee weapon (And not a good one) illegal is just stupid.

    As to the protest, I don't think they will alienate any real christians or anyone that would have gotten the game to begin with. The rest wouldn't have gotten it just because their 'rightous Christian ethics' wouldn't have allowed it.

     

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  6.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    Re: As true as that may be

    I agree with fat Tony. This seems like a non-story to me. Remember the huge "terrorist" scare in Boston due to the viral campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Ya, I'm sure terrorist are going to attack with bombs emblazed with Space Invader type characters.

    Not everything is for everyone. This campaign is targeting me. If people don't like it, don't buy the game, but leave the faux outrage at home.

     

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  7.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:50am

    Re: It's the law that's the problem

    You have no clue and henceforth will be known as the official Techdirt Fucktard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Lucretious, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Re: Whois search says this is bunk.

    sounds like something *I* should be checking out ;)

     

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  9.  
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    PRMan, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    I am a Christian

    and I won't be buying this game now. If EA wants Christians to protest the game, then I say so be it.

    Why is it OK if it is Christians? Why not have fake Jews protesting? Why not fake Muslims? They would never do that. Hypocrites.

     

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  10.  
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    mike42 (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: It's the law that's the problem

    A sniping insult with no reasoning to back it up... I think you have just outed yourself as the OTF.

     

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  11.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Too bad we can't resell this stupid stunt.

    I was just reading Why Crunch Mode Doesn't Work yesterday.

     

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  12.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: It's the law that's the problem

    What do you mean nothing to back it up, read his entire post, what more "backing up" do you need?

     

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  13.  
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    slackr (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Points for trying

    Yay for EA's creative marketing department doing something different...however when that something is in poor taste or illegal you have to wonder who is allowing these decisions to make it past the 'idea' stage. Frankly it makes them look incredible foolish and undermines trust in their products, both things far more damaging than whatever publicity the stunts and gimmicks give them.

     

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  14.  
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    slackr (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's the law that's the problem

    I think the point mike42 is making mninjedimaster is that these forums are usually a place where constructive criticism is warranted and plain abusive demeaning comments are not the norm.

    @The Cenobyte: I agree sending melee weapons that are authentic and therefore illegal is downright dumb. I totally disagree that making it legal to carry melee weapons in todays world are some sort of necessity.

    Alienation of any sort in marketing is rarely going to be pulled off for positive gain. While Christians are always an easy target to mock the gamin industry is again very foolish if they don't realise that a lot of their audience will be related or positively exposed to Christian morals or be Christians themselves. To mock something like religion openly like this is just bad marketing in my opinion.

     

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  15.  
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    Fsm, Jun 26th, 2009 @ 11:31am

    Re: I am a Christian

    Because us real Jews would never protest a silly video game.

     

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  16.  
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    haha, Feb 13th, 2010 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: I am a Christian

    get owned! I personally love the christians that absolutely shit themselves over any perceived slight, so much for turn the other cheek and judge not lest ye be judged yourself, but again, typical american christian, embrace only the parts that suit your designs and then get angry at anyone who points it out

     

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