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What the CEO of Epic Games gets wrong about video games and politics

the Steam Store
Steam Direct
The Division 2
the Ars Orbital Transmission
CNMN Collection WIRED Media Group
Condé Nast

Kyle Orland
Tim Sweeney
Hideo Kojima

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Epic Games
the Epic Games Store

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At a wide-ranging DICE Summit keynote speech Tuesday (as reported by numerous outlets who attended), Sweeney concluded by suggesting that while individual games can and should make political statements, game companies like Epic should remain studiously neutral on any political issues. But those dueling principles can come into inherent conflict because producing and selling games, like producing and selling any other work of art, involves any number of inherently political choices and expressions.Despite some reporting, a close reading of Sweeney's statements doesn't suggest a hardline stance on the role of politics in games. Regardless, there's at least one public exception to Epic's "quality is all that matters" stance, and it involves sexual content."Decisions on which broad categories of products a store sells are not political, and the Epic Games Store decision to focus on general games and not sell porn isn’t any more political than our decision to not sell spreadsheet software," Sweeney tweeted. What matters, he argues, is what part of the company that political expression comes from."If a game tackles politics, as To Kill a Mockingbird did as a novel, it should come from the heart of creatives and not from marketing departments seeking to capitalize on division," Sweeney tweeted.On the surface, this seems like a fine position to take—who (besides some shareholders) would want a marketing department to drive the creative direction of a game studio? But such a clear in-game statement in Epic's largest title would implicitly tie the company as a whole to a position some players may see as politically controversial. Or it can lead to situations where companies disavow the obvious expressive nature of their own products, like when Ubisoft laughably suggested that The Division 2 is not making any political statement.For years, gamers have argued that video games are an expressive medium worthy of protection by the First Amendment.

As said here by Kyle Orland