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EA politely reminds Fox News that they’re a bunch of idiots

Mass Effect

Earlier this week Fox News featured a segment called “Se”Xbox? New Video Game Shows Full Digital Nudity and Sex, where the anchor Martha MacCallum claimed that Mass Effect contained “the ability for the players to engage in graphic sex”. ‘Psychologist expert’ Cooper Lawrence is introduced and talks about how statistics show that games are played by young boys and that Mass Effect objectifies women.

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These statements are complete inaccuracies and Geoff Keighley of Spike TV was on hand to defend the game:

“You mentioned it has full graphical nudity. That’s completely incorrect. There’s no full nudity. There’s the side of an alien boob; it’s a small sexual situation in this game which is about two minutes out of a thirty-plus hour experience. You can actually play through this game without the sexual situation ever happening.”

When asked if she had actually played the game, Lawrence confessed that she hadn’t and MacCallum revealed that her preparation for the segment had consisted of going on the Mass Effect website and looking at a few trailers. The entire segment can be viewed here.

EA, who own Mass Effect developers BioWare have now sent a letter to Fox News asking them “to set the record straight on a number of errors and misstatements”. Jeff Brown, Vice President of Communications at EA, writes the following:

“Your headline above the televised story read: “New videogame shows full digital nudity and sex.”
Fact: Mass Effect does not include explicit or frontal nudity. Love scenes in non-interactive sequences include side and profile shots – a vantage frequently used in many prime-time television shows. It’s also worth noting that the game requires players to develop complex relationships before characters can become intimate and players can chose to avoid the love scenes altogether.

FNC voice-over reporter says: “You’ll see full digital nudity and the ability for players to engage in graphic sex.”
Fact: Sex scenes in Mass Effect are not graphic. These scenes are very similar to sex sequences frequently seen on network television in prime time.

FNC reporter says: “Critics say Mass Effect is being marketed to kids and teenagers.”
Fact: That is flat out false. Mass Effect and all related marketing has been reviewed by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and rated Mature – appropriate for players 17-years and older. ESRB routinely counsels retailers on requesting proof of age in selling M-rated titles and the system has been lauded by members of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission. In practical terms, the ratings work as well or better than those used for warning viewers about television content.

Other sources used in the segment made similar incorrect statements about the game. Judging by the inaccuracy of their comments, they have had zero experience with Mass Effect and are largely ignorant about videogames, the people who play them, and the ESRB system that governs their ratings and sales.

The resulting coverage was insulting to the men and women who spent years creating a game which is acclaimed by critics for its high creative standards. As video games continue to take audiences away from television, we expect to see more TV news stories warning parents about the corrupting influence of interactive entertainment. But this represents a new level of recklessness.

Do you watch the Fox Network? Do you watch Family Guy? Have you ever seen The OC? Do you think the sexual situations in Mass Effect are any more graphic than scenes routinely aired on those shows? Do you honestly believe that young people have more exposure to Mass Effect than to those prime time shows?

This isn’t a legal threat; it’s an appeal to your sense of fairness. We’re asking FNC to correct the record on Mass Effect.”

EA should be applauded for taking a stand on this, especially after such blatently false statements. Most people know that Fox News are a joke, but there are still plenty of people who will watch this and take it as true.

The author of this fine article

is the Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2000. Get in touch on Twitter @PhilipMorton.

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