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Kotaku and Sony Agreed to Disagree

posted on March 4th, 2007 by matt

I’m sure you’ve all heard the huge controversy surrounding the rumor reported by Kotaku on the whole “Playstation Home” thing, so I’ll just give you the short story.

Basically, Kotaku searched the Internets, came across a rumor about something called the “Playstation Home”, and posted it for their fellow readers, which is what any good news service would have done. Sony apparently didn’t want the rumor posted, as it seems it may be something that’s going to be unveiled at this week’s GDC Conference in San Francisco, California. Kotaku defended the post, saying it signifies what journalism really is and that it is not a place for PR dribble (amen to that). Sony then blackballed Kotaku, banning them from any future Sony related event and asking for their PS3 dev kit back.

With all the negative press that Sony has had in the last few months, this was probably the worst thing the hardware giant could have done. They’ve just alienated themselves with a lot of the hardcore gamers with this action. The news/rumor is actually pretty cool, with promised features that act like the Wii’s “Mii’s” and the 360’s Achievements. Definitely not the most original thing from Sony, but cool nonetheless. To then flip out like this over good press is just plain stupid for Sony.

But was it justified? Did Sony have a right to get upset? Personally, if Sony asked me politely to not put it up, I probably would have buckled and agreed. Kotaku said Sony got a little demanding after the first response, so I might have changed my mind after that, but the news is gonna be official in less than a week. I can’t imagine it would have changed much if Kotaku just waited on it.

I know some of you will probably defend the fact that Kotaku is a news service and has all the right to go ahead and report on anything related to gaming, official and/or rumor, and I do agree to an extent, but I guess I don’t like playing hardball with a company like Sony. Maybe Sony just wanted to have this huge party at GDC for all the attendees and make it something special for everyone. Whatever the reasons were, I probably would have given Sony the benefit of the doubt and waited on it.

But I will not agree with on how Sony reacted. Kotaku had the right to do it, and should not have been punished for it. Blackballing Kotaku was definitely a bad choice in my mind, as it is a very popular site for hardcore gamers. Sony should have known the whole proceeding was going to be scrutinized and backed off. And why get so upset over good publicity? Just know it was going to happen, hope for the best and move on.

Kotaku and Sony have since made-up, but the damage has been done. Sony better realize now it ain’t gonna be easy when going up against a bunch of pissed off nerds.

And that’s my two cents on the subject.

[Correction: GDC will be held in San Francisco, Not San Jose. I was way off. I knew it started with an ‘S’ though.

3 Comments

  1. GoldenJew said on March 4, 2007:

    I need to make a post about CCP (the makers of Eve Online) and their similar failed PR attempts.  When will big companies, politicians, anyone learn that these knee jerk bullying reactions NEVER work.  In the age of the internet, you’ve gotta play nice, , because you can’t control things the way you used to… all that’ll happen is your subsequent bumbling will become a second article on the front page of Digg (assuming 3 people don’t report the story as lame and get it removed).

  2. Tony said on March 7, 2007:

    There’s the other angle in this and that’s simply that Kotaku is well known for posting baseless things as full on news all of the time. It’s to the point that Kotaku is a banned word at NeoGAF (for those that don’t know, it’s essentially the most important English forum for games on the Internet). They’re not one I’d cite for journalistic integrity, which makes it all the more laughable that they fought over this so hard in the first place. Normally I’d commend it, but with them I don’t even know.Regardless, I don’t know what Sony is thinking about anything anymore. I’ve since stopped trying to figure a lot of it out.

  3. jay said on March 7, 2007:

    I completely agree that sites like Kotaku and Evil Avatar post anything anyone says and calls it a rumor (or fully fledged news). I have mocked them frequently (which is stupid when you’re a tiny site trying to make a name for yourself, especially considering having an article picked up by a big blog would help us immensely) for this – see the guide to creating a successful website – but think it is the readers job to deal with these sites lack of integrity by complaining or not reading them, not Sony’s. If it’s liable or slander, then fine, Sony should get the courts involved. If not, they should allow the rumor to either further tarnish Kotaku’s reputation, of if it’s true, find and punish the leak in their company.

     

    Though we probably mostly agree and you wanted to just point out Kotaku isn’t beyond error. 

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