Tue, Oct 16, 2012 | 11:43 BST
‘LBGT is a non-issue for our investors’: EA talks equality in games
EA has discussed the treatment of LBGT themes in games, sparked by the controversial Defense of Marriage Act in the States. The publisher – as well as Zynga – has discussed the issue at length in a new interview, stating that as far as investors are concerned, there is no need for concern or debate on the issue as it stands.
Speaking with GI.biz, EA has responded to issues posed by the Defense of Marriage Act, which aims to legally establish the term ‘marriage’ as a union between a man and a woman only. Several US companies are both behind and against the controversial bill, but EA is less than impressed with what it brings to the table.
EA’s head of global diversity and inclusion Ginger Maseda stated, “There have been no questions, comments or concerns raised from our investors with regards to support for LGBT initiatives in the community or having LGBT characters in our games. Essentially, it’s been a non-issue from an investor perspective.”
The publisher recently celebrated Pride Month by allowing gay characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic. It is not an issue the company feels should be ignored, and Maseda added that “part of inclusion is making everybody feel heard and that they have a voice. As a publicly traded company, I think it’s important to listen to our consumers. Whether we believe it’s right or wrong, it’s all incorporated into what we do.”
Zynga’s general counsel Reggie Davis backed up EA’s stance by adding, “There are 13, 14, 15-year-old boys and girls committing suicide throughout a lot of the country because they can’t come to grips in their community with being who they are.”
“To me, it just takes the whole debate around ‘some people don’t agree with it,’ or ‘you’re a public company; should you not do this because of your full representation to your shareholders?’”
“We’re very vocal about our position, and people ultimately have an option to invest in the company or not. As long as there’s good disclosure around what your commitments are at the company, then people can make informed decisions as to whether they want to invest in you or not.”
What’s your view on the situation? Should this debate enter into games at all – given that game creators have freedom to create content on whatever themes they please – or is a wider discussion needed to cement the industry’s stance? Let us know below.