How Low Can EA Go? Contest Encourages “Acts of Lust” With Booth Babes

By  |  Friday, July 24, 2009 at 5:31 pm

dantes-inferno-screenshotUpdate: EA’s Dante Team has apologized “for any confusion and offense that resulted from our choice of wording, and want to assure you that we take your concerns and sentiments seriously.” The team further explained that “commit acts of lust” is “simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with costumed reps.” Full statement here. Original post below.

Electronic Arts is no stranger to controversial PR stunts, so maybe I’m playing right into the company’s hands by decrying its latest giveaway for Dante’s Inferno. Whatever, I’ll risk it.

Have a look at the contest flyer, as posted on Kotaku. The idea is for San Diego Comic Con attendees to take pictures of themselves with booth babes and send them in to EA. The more pictures sent, the more entries in the contest. EA calls these photo ops “Acts of Lust.”

To the winner, the contest promises “Dinner and a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty.” The innuendo is cringe-inducing.

In a way, I’ve got to hand it to EA for pointing out the very backwards aspect of the games industry that unashamedly degrades women. If only the gaming blogs covering the story could see the forest from the trees. Destructoid, for example, cries foul despite having no problem celebrating booth babes during E3.

And then there’s the game itself, poor Dante’s magnum opus dumbed down to yet another male power fantasy, and a God of War wannabee to boot. I guess EA figured it had already lost the female demographic by turning a cautionary tale on sin into a hack-and-slash bloodbath. Why not alienate them completely?

Stunts like these — and booth babes themselves — give gaming a bad name, but it’s only made worse when related to a work that’s treated with dignity in any other medium. Game publishers have gone to some incredibly puzzling lengths for publicity before, but this is the most offensive example I’ve seen, in more ways than one.



4 Comments For This Post

  1. Drew Says:

    I don’t want to create a verbal assault on anybody…but reading this article, I could not help but narrate it in my head with a female’s voice (typically I narrate in my own voice)…and I feel that in itself creates an issue with this article. My opinion on EA and other companies leaning on controversial sex-sells campaigns is this: One, they get talked about (you’re article is a great example…I had no idea they did it until I read this) and two, it works. That’s the ultimate goal of advertising in a capitalist market…if it works, do it. The advertising methods are no less immoral than the people that buy into them. And for the girls that work the booths, same story. If it makes you money, and doesn’t make you uncomfortable, why not.

    Now, go off and get on some tear about how strip clubs are resetting our culture to the pre-30s era of womanization, and destroying the female image.

  2. DaveZatz Says:

    I went to the 1997 or 1998 ComicCon in San Diego. Lou Ferrigno was there flexing his muscles. And signing autographs for twenty frickin’ bucks. Now THAT is appalling.

  3. Harry McCracken Says:

    I’ve been going to Comic-Con off and on for more than 20 years. I’m not sure if game companies should be allowed to exhibit at all; this type of stuff is a good argument against it.

    @DaveZatz: Lou is STILL at Comic-Con, still signing autographs…same booth every year.

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