So, was the EA anti-gay campaign for real or was it astroturf?

If you interact with any kind of social media about gaming then you probably saw the story last week about EA and the homophobic lobby, and the white knights of the internet rallying to defeat the hatred via … a petition!

The story goes like this:

  • EA claims to have been inundated by thousands of letters complaining about same sex/ LGBT content in its games, specifically Mass Effect 3 and SWTOR. Apparently the letters had been directed to lots of high level managers.
  • Various US based hate groups are suspected of having been involved. Gamesindustry.biz (see above link) picks out a couple as having ‘calls to action’ (presumably to send spam to EA).
  • EA (who never had any intention of doing anything about this) issued a press release saying that they never had any intention of making any changes as a result of this.
  • Then there was a huge internet campaign/ petition involving e-celebs such as Stephen Fry encouraging people to sign a petition in favour of the gay romances.

Maybe I’m just of a cynical nature, but bearing in mind that EA has in the past sponsored advertising campaigns who set up astroturf campaigns against one of their games for publicity, I wouldn’t bet against them having done it again.

For us non-US folk, we’d easily believe that nutty US semi-political groups will campaign against /anything/ because we see it in the news all the time.

Also, who told these wacky US campaigning groups that there were gay relationships in SWTOR? Because there aren’t. I get that they’re politically out there, but do they really not check what they’re campaigning about at all? All Bioware have done with SWTOR is said that there will be gay relationships in the future (due to player feedback/ demand). That hardly seems worth mentioning when they could have picked out Dragon Age which actually does feature LGBT characters and relationships.

Good publicity for EA, Bioware, and SWTOR though.