Is EA Sports Trying to Exploit the Penn State/Sandusky Story?

I’m still on vacation, but I wanted to share the kind of things that fill up the inbox of your average videogame reviewer.

Yesterday, while I was bobbing around in a boat, drinking my beer and minding my own bidness, the PR company for EA Sports sent me a press release headlined “Play as the Penn State Nittany Lions in EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 – Available Today.”

Last year's NCAA videogame included this unfortunate name for a Penn State game

NCAA Football is the most respected football videogame on the market, and it has always let you play as Penn State.

So, why the headline-grabbing press release, with the text saying “Fans can lead Penn State to a BCS National Championship in a game featuring the deepest college football experience available,” complete with pointers to the screen shots showing Penn State in the game?

Well that’s simple: to piggyback on the current news of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. As the press release populates throughout the web, people searching for information on child predator Jerry Sandusky will churn up links related to the game, and lazy reporters looking for something new to flesh out their word counts may even add a tag at the end of their Sandusky stories mentioning Penn State being in EA’s game, as though it was something novel. It gets the game extra ink, such as this very post!

Marketing-wise, you can’t fault the logic. Not-being-slimy-wise, you’d think a company like EA might refrain from exploiting a tragedy to sell a few extra copies of a game.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.


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