We are immersed in gaming. It is becoming pervasive in our modern world, and it reached an estimated $91 billion globally last year. However, it still seems like there are groups who cannot seem to separate fiction from reality, whether from negligence, laziness, or simply not understanding an entire industry. This is the state of modern journalism.
CNN is the latest news company to use games in a report and hope it is not noticed. On a recent report covering sanctions for Russia’s cyberattacks on the US, they illustrated the concept of hacking by using an image of the hacking mini game from Fallout 4 while discussing the details of the story. (Poor Ubisoft. No one thought to steal from Watch Dogs.) You can see the actual image on Reddit, where the error was initially spotted and posted.
Unfortunately, this is not a unique occurrence. In 2013, a Danish news program used a screenshot of Assassin’s Creed to portray modern Syria. In 2014, Russia Today used a screenshot from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to show child soldiers. In 2012, the BBC confused the UNSC flag from the Halo franchise with the United Nations Security Council. In 2014, Fox News used a variation of the Bioshock: Infinite logo for a piece on immigration.
This will not be the last time we see games used to portray actual events, and it is not limited to any one network. We will not be surprised to see a professional news company calling Commander Shepard for comments on the space program, or sourcing Ken and Ryu in a story about underground fight clubs.
Either way, it makes us laugh.