What the CEO of Epic Games gets wrong about video games and politics

Web of pearls
Patrik Nygren: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lattefarsan/

The mere mention of the word “politics” in any industry can lead to an explosion before anyone even finishes a sentence. We’ve seen it recently in basketball, the film industry, and, unsurprisingly, video games.

Now Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has uttered the p-word, and much more, in a speech that has thrown him right in the middle of a potential explosion. At a wide-ranging DICE Summit keynote speech Tuesday (as reported by numerous outlets who attended), Sweeney concluded by suggesting that while individual games can and should make political statements, game companies like Epic should remain studiously neutral on any political issues. Sweeney later provided more context for those remarks in a Twitter thread and its associated responses.

Sweeney is trying to walk a thin tightrope here, allowing for wide-ranging individual expression as a platform holder while trying to maintain political silence as a corporate entity. But those dueling principles can come into inherent conflict because producing and selling games, like producing and selling any other work of art, involves any number of inherently political choices and expressions.

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