'A Commons committee was left baffled as video game executives appeared to deny making money from their own games, admit to ignoring regulations governing data protection and age restrictions, and claim ignorance over how much time their own users were spending on games.
Representatives from Epic Games, makers of Fortnite: Battle Royale, and EA Games, the publisher of the Fifa series of football games, appeared as witnesses in front of the Commons Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee as part of its inquiry into immersive and addictive technologies.
Both games have been the subject of intense scrutiny after reports of children spending an unhealthy amount of time and money on them, with Prince Harry making an unusual public attack on Fortnite in April: “That game shouldn’t be allowed,” he said. “It’s created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible.”
But rather than address the concerns directly, both companies flatly denied that there was a problem, even while admitting that they did not collect the data required to answer many of the committee’s questions.
When presented with Harry’s remarks, Epic’s general counsel, Canon Pence, said they “couldn’t be further from the truth about our ethics and design philosophy”.
He added: “It’s always been our effort and intent to create a fun, fair, flexible, engaging and generous form of interactive entertainment. A statement that suggests it’s some sort of nefarious attempt to extract short-term profit is a mischaracterisation.”
But neither Pence nor his colleague, director of marketing Matthew Weissinger, could answer more direct questions about how many users were playing the game an unhealthy amount.'
Read more: MPs in a spin as games chief appears to deny Fortnite makes money
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