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Technology & Innovation

Connecting Virtual Firearms To Their Real-World Counterparts

Despite studies discrediting links between video games and gun violence, both industries have quietly benefited from product placement.

What’s the Latest Development?

The National Rifle Association’s recent attempt to link violent video games to mass shootings has once again brought the industry under scrutiny, despite the fact that studies have shown no direct connection between the two. However, product placement, sponsoring, and other marketing tactics highlight a quiet and very mutually beneficial link between entertainment companies and firearms manufacturers. One particularly egregious example involved a promotional site for one popular game which contained active links to gun companies’ online catalogs. The links were disabled after gaming enthusiasts accused the video game manufacturer of offering “a virtual showroom for guns.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The goal of many violent video games is to offer as realistic an experience as possible, and if designers can make their virtual Glocks close to lifelike, it improves game sales and elevates the real-world brand at the same time. Consequently, even the American military uses the games to help recruit and train troops. The connection is making some firearms enthusiasts, and companies, uncomfortable as well. After the recent Connecticut school shooting, the parent company of the group responsible for making Bushmaster firearms — a very popular “virtual” brand — announced that it would sell the unit.

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