No more royalty cheques from EA for using real-world weapons, but that doesn't mean they won't stop using them. They intend to wield the 'fair use' argument in court, if necessary.
Not too long ago EA was promoting gamers to 'try out' real weapons based off those in Medal of Honor: Warfighter. It was a PR disaster that led to EA pulling the campaign.
"We're telling a story and we have a point of view," EA's President of Labels Frank Gibeau, reports . "A book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example." The publisher intends to flex the constitutional muscle of free speech, which would let them use trademarks without needing license agreements in the context of telling a story.
EA is currently in a legal tussle with aircraft maker Bell Helicopter for their use of helicopters in the Battlefield series, which the manufacturer argues goes beyond 'fair use'. EA pre-emptively sued Bell Helicopter to prevent them from harming the launch and continued sale of more Battlefield content.
EA spokesman Jeff Brown says that recent political events within the US, namely those tied to the NRA, was not what prompted EA to break their licensing with gun manufacturers. Frankly this appears to be a half-truth. EA is of course motivated by their bottom line and so not paying royalties is A-Okay with EA accountants.
The recent rumbling caused by the likes of the NRA however have seriously tarnished the general consensus view of gun ownership in the US. Most were in favour of universal background checks for gun purchases for example, but the NRA used their political might to prevent any legislation going through - this didn't impress.
Recently the NRA has also tried all it can to shift focus of blame from guns to violent video games. Criticism was starting to build rapidly for any in the game industry having ties with weapons manufacturers, and rightly so. Now EA are keen to distance themselves from the ever radicalised NRA, whom now serve manufacturers over gun owners it would seem.
It should be noted that no legal action from gun manufacturers has taken place against any studio or publisher within the games industry before, so it's likely they don't care much. Will Activision follow suit? Probably.