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Epic Games CEO clarifies controversial statement on politics

When it comes to making controversial remarks, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney is no rookie. You'll often find the Fortnite developer's CEO railing against all sorts of things, from intrusive online ads to organizations that put studies behind paywalls. Yes, the subject matter of Sweeney's remarks can sometimes dip way out of the mainstream. But there are some instances where Sweeney's words hit on topics everyone is generally familiar with.

Unfortunately, Sweeney doesn't always get his point across right away.

Take Sweeney's latest dust-up, which came as a result of the Epic CEO giving a keyword during the gaming industry's 2020 DICE Summit. Sweeney seemed to attack political messaging in games, stating, "we as companies need to divorce ourselves from politics." Sweeney then clarified his statement on Twitter by adding, "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."

So game companies should allow politics to enter games, or they shouldn't? Sweeney appears to be saying that the "creatives" should be given free reign to add political messaging, and that the higher-ups in companies shouldn't be gatekeeping those efforts, or forcing their own political beliefs onto developers. That said, it all came through about as clear as mud.

At least Sweeney took some digs at loot boxes.

Loot boxes under fire

"What do we want to be when we grow up?" Sweeney reportedly asked the crowd during his DICE keynote address. "Do we want to be Las Vegas, or worldwide, highly respected creators of entertainment products that customers can trust?"

Sweeney's scorn, in that instance, was directed at loot box mechanics in games. And if we've said it once, we've said it dozens of times: people don't like loot boxes. They're a sneaky way to make you pay for a chance at a thing you want, rather than just outright buying the thing you want. Fortnite — which is developed and published by Epic Games — has seen enormous success come from a free-to-play model and a simple item shop. It sure looks like Sweeney feels other game companies could (and maybe should) adopt the same kind of model.

While we don't see companies like EA dropping Ultimate Team cards anytime soon, we can at least appreciate this bit of Sweeney's commentary. As for the other stuff? He may need to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to make his message more understandable. Just as talking about politics is tough, discussing the discussion of politics can also be challenging. Maybe we'll see Sweeney back at DICE next year for another round. Or, more likely, he'll just keep trying to drive the point home on Twitter.