One of the biggest announcements from the EA E3 2018 press conference was the confirmation that Battlefield V will have a battle royale game mode. The reveal was a huge talking point on social media, as many gamers joked that it took less than 10 minutes for the first battle royale announcement to be made at E3. Many also began to question what other games could add battle royale modes and that included one poorly thought out joke from a well-known game retailer.
The EA E3 2018 press conference also featured the reveal of Madden NFL 19. When video game retailer GameStop tweeted about the new sports game, one fan promptly responded, asking whether the new Madden title would feature a battle royale mode too. GameStop answered the question, joking that if it was to add a battle royale, "we got dibs on Ray Rice."
GameStop's tweet appears to be in reference to Ray Rice's criminal history. In February 2014, Rice and his then-fiancee (now wife) Janay Palmer were arrested and charged with assault. A video of the incident was leaked by TMZ and showed the professional football player dragging Palmer out of an elevator following an altercation that appeared to have left her unconscious. Rice was later indicted on third-degree aggravated assault and although the criminal charges were eventually dropped and Rice agreed to undergo court-supervised counseling, the player's contract was terminated by the Baltimore Ravens and it forced the NFL to rethink its domestic violence policy.
The tweet was called out by many followers as being insensitive to domestic violence victims. Followers criticized the retailer for making light of such a serious situation, saying that the implication that Rice would have an advantage in battle royale because of his history is not a laughing matter. Shortly after the backlash began to flood the replies of the tweet, GameStop deleted the message.
GameStop is far from the first gaming company to find itself in hot water over a spectacular social media gaffe. Recently, PlayStation caught flak when it appeared to mock the Xbox adaptive controller on Twitter. While these brands use social media to promote themselves and engage with customers, many will argue that these companies need to think carefully about what they post. There are certain jokes that many people just don't find funny and as GameStop has just found out, the backlash for posting something insensitive may well be tremendous.
Madden NFL 19 will release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on August 10, 2018. Fans who pre-order the Hall of Fame edition can access the title on August 7, 2018.