Saturday, July 25, 2009

Old news

I first saw this news when Cuppycake pointed it out on Ars Technica yesterday, which makes it old news by game industry standards, but I think it's important enough to call out in multiple places so I will repeat it here anyway.

EA puts sexual bounty on the heads of its own booth babes

To sum up: EA is advertising a contest that actively encourages contestants to "perform acts of lust" with their, or in fact any, booth babes at ComicCon. The prize: a night out with two of the booth babes where, presumably, you can harass them further still.

I really can't put it any better than Jeremy Preacher:
I understand that absymally stupid ideas get floated in meetings all the time, but at a billion-dollar company like EA, you'd think SOMEONE would have the basic common sense to put a stop to a FUCKING CONTEST TO SEE WHO CAN HARASS YOUR EMPLOYEES THE MOST.
The EA booth babes may be contractually obligated to put up with this and unable to protest, but I certainly hope that every other company whose booth babes are harassed due to this contest sues the pants off EA.

While this particular contest is in fact fairly new news, this kind of attitude within the game industry is unfortunately pretty old news. It's disappointing to find it still in 2009, but alas, there's no shortage of it, as io9 highlighted recently. There are a number of organizations within the game industry (such as WIGI) who do try to raise awareness of women in gaming, but it sometimes seems like an uphill battle when a company like EA comes out with a contest like this one.

Another such organization is "Gamers In Real Life" which is organized by my employer, Sony Online Entertainment, and aims to raise awareness about women and the portrayal of women in games and the gaming industry. G.I.R.L. also maintain a blog which was previously written by the inestimable Tracy "Owlchick" Seamster, and which I will be taking over starting in August now that Tracy has moved on to pursue other career opportunities. As this weekend's EA news demonstrates, there is still a long way to go before it will be unthinkable to promote a contest like this one, but slowly and in increasing numbers we will get there. I'll keep updating this blog also, but you'll soon be seeing me on the G.I.R.L blog too. =)


Opinion and perspective from a booth babe

Comment from one of the winners (who declined the prize)

And a statement from EA = pretty much a non-response and apparent total fail at comprehending the issue. Does "sorry you don't understand" count as an apology? Not really, no.


  1. I am glad you won't be dropping this blog, but I'll be interested to see your take on the GIRL blog as well.

    As an adult woman, I was disappointed, but sadly, not surprised, to read about EA's "contest". I hope to hell some booth babes sue them for it, but I doubt it will happen, and no lesson will be learned. :(

  2. I'm glad to see you're taking over GIRL. What a perfect person to do it :)