With 25.9 million active players each month, Zynga’s Mafia Wars is cultivating a hefty collective of would-be criminal masterminds who gain increasingly more ka-ching for virtually playing out their underground bada-bing. Fortunately it’s all in good fun, but CEO Mark Pincus is probably not laughing now that PETA has taken a shot at his game.
Businesses such as KFC are the continued target of the animal rights organization due to their insistence on following slaughter methods that cause unnecessary suffering in spite of the availability of far more humane options. Zynga, on the other hand, is guilty of portraying their video game dogs (and other animals) as vicious weapons, which PETA feels could potentially trigger die-hard players to think that this is perfectly acceptable role for creatures to take in real life, too.
PETA’s executive vice president sent a letter to Pincus yesterday, urging him to remove the animal element from his video game so that potential animal abuse cases could be thwarted. Dogfighting, she reasoned, perpetuates the stereotype that it is cool to enslave macho animals without giving any thought or concern to their proper care or treatment.