As African Americans and allies all over the country protest for their lives against systematic police brutality targeting black people, including the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a police officer on May 25, multiple gaming brands have issued statements of support for the protests.
EA Sports, which had planned to show off Madden NFL 21 Monday, announced it would be putting off the reveal until a later date, in order to not take attention away from the current protests.
“We stand with our African American / Black community of friends, players, colleagues and partners,” the official statement from EA Sports read. “Our immediate attention is on actions we can take to drive change against the unjust treatments and systemic bias that is plaguing the nation and our world.”
However, the NFL, which EA partners with through the Madden series, has in all likelihood colluded to keep football player Colin Kaepernick out of the league after he knelt in protest during the national anthem.
Other brands have similarly issued statements of support, usually in the form of white text against a black background.
Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends and Valorant, the latter of which launches Tuesday:
Bethesda, the publisher of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom and other videogame franchises:
Activision Blizzard, which publishes Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch and other franchises:
Twitch, a streaming platform primarily for videogames owned by Amazon:
Sony, the manufacturer of the PlayStation:
Microsoft, the manufacturer of the Xbox:
Naughty Dog, the developers behind Uncharted and The Last of Us:
Some of these companies, such as PlayStation and EA, are matching donations from developers to causes supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Others, such as Xbox’s general manager of games marketing, Aaron Greenburg, have issued statements of support independently of their respective brands.
Others, including Riot Games and Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human developer Quantic Dream, have a history of prejudice and, in the latter’s case, overt racism. Riot Games was sued and eventually settled due to complaints of gender discrimination at the company, while Quantic Dream has been accused of homophobic and racist behavior.
Genuine words of support for Black Lives Matter add to the collective voice of people advocating for change, and these hugely popular brands have the potential to reach millions of people. However, stay vigilant in separating real action from empty statements, and hold organizations accountable for past and present actions that conflict with their words of support.