In a forum post on the GamePolitics blog last week, Thompson promised “big trouble” for BioShock. Today, he followed through on the threat, writing a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission complaining about the presence of BioShock television ads on WWE Smackdown. Thompson claims the placement of the ads in the 8:00 p.m. EDT show is proof that Take-Two is “aggressively marketing its newest Mature-rated video game to kids under 17 years of age.”
“On this Friday’s night’s (sic) 8 pm Eastern time airing of WWE’s wrestling program “Smackdown,” there were repeated ads for Take-Two/Rockstar Game’s Mature-rated, incredibly violent BioShock,” he wrote. “A check of the demographics of the audience of that program reveals that teens under 17 years of age watch that program in huge numbers.” A check of the game’s credits reveals that Rockstar has nothing whatsoever to do with the game beyond being owned by the same company that owns BioShock developer Irrational/2K Boston.
Thompson also managed to get in a shot at the ESRB by adding, “Remarkably, the video game industry is running ads for games like BioShock on teen-intensive television programs while at the same time its industry-captured ‘watchdog,’ the ESRB, is running a self-congratulatory ad campaign to assure parents that the video game ratings system is working and that the industry can be trusted not to target their kids with these Mature-rated games. It is all a lie, as the BioShock ads prove.”