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Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney wants to remove politics from games

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney used a keynote talk at DICE 2020 to call for a “separation of church and state” model that removes politics from video games.

“The world is really screwed up right now,” Sweeney said (via IGN). “Right now our political orientations determine which fast-food chicken restaurant you go to? And that’s really dumb. There’s no reason to drag divisive topics like that into gaming at all.”

Sweeney was referring to Chik-Fil-A, an organisation that’s come under fire over a long history of donating to charities with anti-LGBTQ stance. This includes a confirmed $1.9 million back in 2010, of which a portion was issued to Exodus International, a group that promotes anti-gay conversion therapies.

Epic’s head continued on to say that video game devleopers should be “operating as neutral venues for entertainment and employees, customers” and that “everybody… can hold their own views and not be judged by us for that.”

Sweeney opened the address praising the way in which Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird handled politics and served as a means to discuss issues.

“If you think back to To Kill a Mockingbird and the impact that had on people’s views in the time, I think that’s a genuine outlet for games,” Sweeney said. “It really makes people think about things.”

He later took to Twitter to clarify his stance.

“Here’s one of the key views I shared at DICE. If a game tackles politics, as To Kill a Mockingbird did as a novel, it should come from the heart of creatives and not from marketing departments seeking to capitalize on division,” Sweeney wrote.

What do you make of Sweeney’s comments?

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for close to fifteen years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.