NEW YORK, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. gun manufacturers and video game makers have developed a relationship that amounts to a cross-marketing strategy, watchers of the two industries say.
For example, The New York Times reports, Electronic Arts, maker of the popular Medal of Honor Warfighter game, launched a website highlighting the makers of the weapons featured in its game.
"It was almost like a virtual showroom for guns," Ryan Smith, a contributor to the online gaming magazine Gameological Society, told the newspaper.
Studies have not found a link between video games and gun violence but National Rifle Association Executive Director Wayne LaPierre last week blamed violent games and movies for inciting mass shootings like the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn., as he tried to deflect attention away from the role assault rifles and high-capacity clips play in such tragedies, the Times said.
Marketing experts say gun and ammunition manufacturers, financial backers of the NRA, see video games as a way to promote their brands to millions of potential customers. Electronic Arts and Magpul, which makes high-capacity magazines and other gun accessories, promoted their partnership in a YouTube video, the Times said.
Activision, maker of the Call of Duty video games, features and credits numerous weapons made by Bushmaster Firearms, Barrett and Browning, Colt, Heckler & Koch, Glock and Beretta. The Times said it was unable to get comments from many of the video game and gun makers or the NRA, Electronic Arts said in a statement video game makers, like movie producers, "frequently license the images of people, sports franchises, buildings, cars and military equipment."
EA said it does not receive payments for using branded images in its game.
Ted Novin, a spokesman for Freedom Group -- maker of Bushmaster guns -- said in an email the company "received no payment, nor have we paid for placement of our products in Call of Duty."
Novin said the gaming and entertainment industry "routinely use likeness of our products without our permission."