Fortnite’s latest update grabbed the attention of gamers and non-gamers alike. That is because the shooting game removed all police cars in their latest update. Epic Games did this, not as a political statement, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Fortnite creators removed police cars as a response to #BlackLivesMatter protests. The source from Epic Games stated that the online game creator made this move to remove all police cars in the game. This move is not a political act but more of a culturally aware step to tend to users who are currently dealing with sensitive issues.
Epic Games is not the only company doing this, and compared to others; it is a mild move. After all, Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare included a message on their screen that read, “Our community is hurting. The systemic inequalities our community experiences are once again center stage. Call of Duty and Infinity Ward stand for equality and inclusion. We stand against the racism and injustice our Black community endures. Until change happens and Black Lives Matter, we will never truly be the community we strive to be.” Rockstar Games halted access to Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Online for two hours. On their Twitter page, they published “Black Lives Matter. To honor the legacy of George Floyd, today, 6/4/20, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, we will be shutting down access to our online games, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online.”
Black Lives Matter. To honor the legacy of George Floyd, today, 6/4/20, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, we will be shutting down access to our online games, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online.
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) June 4, 2020
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Many game studios are experiencing this challenge to address the current status quo and remain apolitical. Their moves can potentially alienate current and future users. Despite games having a political commentary on its platform or users, it is a different matter with companies to put themselves in a vulnerable position by stating their political stance.
Engadget predicted that Epic Games is putting themselves in a difficult position. If this action sparks outrage, regardless of which side people will take, their company will take the hit with much revenue to lose.