Today licensed weapons are commonplace in video games, but the deals between game makers and gun-manufacturer are shrouded. Not one of the publishers contacted for this article was willing to discuss the practice. (EA: "I'm afraid we can't progress this." Activision: "Not something we can assist with at present... My hands are tied." Codemasters: "We're focused on our racing titles these days." Crytek: "We can't help you with that request." Sega: "[This] doesn't sit comfortably." Sony: "I can't help with this I'm afraid.")
However, the gun makers are more forthcoming. "[It's] absolutely the same as with cars in games," says Barrett's Vaughn. "We must be paid a royalty fee - either a one-time payment or a percentage of sales, all negotiable. Typically, a licensee pays between 5 per cent to 10 per cent retail price for the agreement. But we could negotiate on that."
"We want to know explicitly how the rifle is to be used, ensuring that we are shown in a positive light... Such as the 'good guys' using the rifle," says Vaughn. His company insists that its gun isn't "used by individuals, organisations, countries or companies that would be shown as enemies of the United States or its citizens." Ideally, Vaughn says, Barrett's gun will only be used "by US law enforcement or US military".
"This doesn't sit comfortably", says anonymous PR flack.