Facebook Pulls VR Shooting Game From CPAC Demo After Criticism

Tech company says the game is part of a “standard set of experiences” featured at events

Last Updated: February 23, 2018 @ 6:14 PM

After a wave of social media criticism, Facebook expressed “regret” for including a shooting game in its VR demo at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, and removed it “out of respect for the victims and their families” of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last week.

The game, titled “Bullet Train,” is a first-person shooter set inside of a train station. According to a from the company provided to TheWrap, the game is part of a set of virtual reality demos the company uses at all public events.

“There is a standard set of experiences included in the Oculus demos we feature at public events,” said Hugo Barra, Facebook’s vice president of virtual reality. “A few of the action games can include violence. In light of the recent events in Florida and out of respect for the victims and their families, we have removed them from this demo. We regret that we failed to do so in the first place.”

The game was brought to public attention by NowThisNews contributor Sean Morrow on Twitter, sparking a wave of criticism, including from Bernie Sanders spokesperson Symone Sanders, who said “well if this isn’t tone deaf.” Other critics were blunter, including one who tagged Facebook and asked “what the f— is wrong with you?”

Facebook has had a booth at the political conference for the last two years, providing attendees the opportunity to try out the Oculus Rift VR headset.

In a statement to Think Progress, the company said it’s participation was not an endorsement “of any particular position or platform.”

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