The head of the EA Games label says that developers shouldn't be afraid to court controversy, as long as it fits with their game's "creative integrity."
Fox News might not be fond of Bulletstorm, but that doesn't mean that the EA - Bulletstorm's publisher - doesn't like Fox News. In fact, the opposite seems to be true, as EA's Frank Gibeau says that he loves the boost of publicity that games get when Fox News goes on the attack.
Gibeau said that when trying to launch a new IP, a little controversy went a long way. He said that while he doesn't agree with the criticism that Fox News levelled at games - a recently Fox News blog post mused about whether Bulletstorm was the worst game in the world - he understood where the organization was coming from, and what it was trying to do. He thought that developers shouldn't be afraid of a little controversy, as long as it wasn't "gratuitous," and said that on each occasion that Fox News latched on to an EA game, he felt that the publisher could defend itself without anything to worry about.
He didn't seem to be especially worried about controversy hurting sales either, especially not on a game like Bulletstorm, which he didn't really think that many people in Fox News' demographic would really want to play anyway. Gibeau seems to be right not to worry, as negative Fox News coverage doesn't seem to have really hurt sales of Mass Effect, which was targeted for its "lesbian aliens," or Medal of Honor, which upset people with its inclusion of the Taliban in its multiplayer. Notably, EA did cave on that second point, but the game did go on to sell 1.5 million copies in its first week.
Despite his comment about using controversy as a marketing tool, Gibeau makes a very good point about negative media attention. Different people have different tastes, and inevitably, some people aren't going to like the content of a particular game. It's a bad idea for a developer to deliberately try to aggravate those people, but at the same time, developers shouldn't shy away from making mature games for fear of rocking the boat.
Source: Industry Gamers