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Why Is The Whole Freaking Industry Against Sony?

by Ernice Gilbert on April 30th, 2011, under Hot, Opinion Piece, PS3, PSN, Sony

I’ll be the first journalist to say Sony messed up. I’ll also be the first to say the company did bad by our sensitive information. Yes, they should have protected us better, and there should have been more levels of security put in place to make sure all users information cannot, but no means, be taken at once. So again, Sony did us a disservice and will have to work hard in order to fully regain our trust.

But there’s a nasty trend happening right now that’s somewhat startling and disheartening at the same time. There’s a saying that goes “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. It means eventually, what’s in one’s heart will come out through the mouth, making known one’s true feelings towards a thing, or somebody. While scouring many websites, especially the most prominent ones, all I can see right now is hate towards Sony. Like a lion after its prey, they go after the giant and rip it apart like they wish the PlayStation brand was already dead. From IGN to Eurogamer, and VG247 to Gamasutra, there’s a pervading theme that seems to say “kill the dog while it’s down”, and, “make sure it’s beaten to death”.

Thing is, although Microsoft RROD catastrophe was just as bad as Sony’s 2011 faux pa, I can’t remember the headlines being as nasty as they are to Sony right now. In this article, you’ll see why IGN is an Xbox 360 loving and PS3 downing website, and while I’m a massive fan of VG247 and Eurogamer, their tone towards this situation has been rather surprising. It seems the whole freaking industry is against Sony.

IGN ran a piece called: The Lobby: PlayStation Network Down, and there, the website’s editors were to share their feelings concerning the PSN outage. And while almost everyone last sentiment was negative towards the situation, showing no sign of empathy towards the company, one editor basically confirmed to me why many view the site as anti-PS3:

“I’m just going to throw a number out there: 70 million,” predicted IGN editor Geddes. “That’s roughly the number of existing PSN subscriptions. If the worst is true, and those customers’ private details (address, e-mail, credit card info, birth date) have been compromised, then Sony has just catapulted itself into the rarified and dubious stratosphere of history’s worst online personal security breaches.”

Geddes, however, didn’t stop there. He went on to make known to users that he hasn’t signed into PSN for over a year, and then went on to praise Xbox Live and once more, slamming PSN for “paling in comparison” Microsoft’s online service. He wanted to share what was in his heart for a long time, it seemed, and the PSN situation gave him the green light.

“If Sony has a reason for waiting a week to tell its customers about this “possible” breach of trust, they have yet to reveal it,” he continued. “What’s most frustrating to me is that I can’t even log into the PSN web site to see what information of mine Sony has. It’s been years since I signed up for the service. Do I have a credit card on file with them? Which e-mail? No idea. I’ve repeatedly said that the PSN does not adequately respect its users: no background downloads for the system’s countless firmware updates (unless you pay!), no cross-game chat, a confusing and unwieldy user interface, a downloadable library that pales in comparison to Xbox Live’s. This is just par for the course.”

You can feel the hate through your computer screen can’t you? Why would IGN allow such hate rape through its website and hit PS3 owners to the face as a massive dose of disrespect is beyond me. But this truly confirms the feelings I harbored towards the popular site as leaning more towards Xbox 360. But then again what did I expect?

Now onto one of my favorite websites: VG247. When Sony first released the information concerning the PSN breach, the website headline for the thread was good, it was then changed into something more eye-catching and attention grabbing, and when I checked it for the last time, the headline brought melo-drama to a whole new level, and then changed again to this more subtle and toned headline, giving a broader scope of what happened. However even before Sony’d released the information concerning the leak, respected editor and site owner Patrick Garratt ran a piece which basically stated Sony should have left the hackers alone because it’s a fight it could not win, and cast no blame on the hackers. Totally unbalanced. And its title? Hacked To Death: Sony Faces Crunch-Time Over PSN Failures.

Another one of my favorite sites, Eurogamer, wrote a few pieces slamming the already down company: PSN: The PR Disaster, and from Digital Foundry: PSN: The Security Scandal.

I’m not saying that companies shouldn’t be held accountable for their mistakes, but when the news media incessantly damns a situation, looking for new ways to rehash the same thing over and over, apparently just to make the big point: ‘Sony’s hacked, and they’re going down’, is going over and beyond, and playing on the fears of their readership. The Media has overreacted. And for the record, VG247 and Eurogamer are two of the best gaming sites anywhere.

Slowly, though, it seems as if the fiasco is coming to an end. Great. This is about to stop – but industry site Gamasutra had to put one more dent into the already dent-ridden armor of Sony with its opinion piece: PlayStation Brand Faces Uncertain Future. Here are a few excerpts from the thread:

“Today, the PlayStation brand is in gentle decline. And the events of the past week could accelerate that decline into something more serious. Especially if Sony continues to handle the crisis with the incompetence it has thus far demonstrated.”

“If Sony wants to come through this present crisis with the PlayStation brand relatively unsullied it needs to make some big changes to how it approaches the outside world, and how it views itself. Sony has always behaved like a dictator, benevolently dispensing information to favored sycophants according to its own desires. But we live in an age of communal equality, of disrespect and distrust of authority. The sycophants are still there. But fewer and fewer people are listening.”

“So far, Sony’s response has been predictably pitiful. The best it could do was send out an email and post a blog Q&A. Sony’s bloodless blog update makes depressing reading. Here is Sony skirting with the issue of its own culpability…”

All opinions that I tend to disagree with. I don’t know, maybe we live on different planets, but I don’t think Sony has the worst PR team out there, and I certainly don’t agree that the brand is in decline.

Then you have the little, no-name blogs generating all sorts of drizzle just to get a few hits. It’s a situation that’s spiraled out of control, and I’m sure we’ll be looking back as journalists in regret of our overreaction, and look on as Sony rises from its most damaging episode yet.

But it will rise again.

Eurogamer:

“As Sony’s network team struggle to get the PSN service back online and limit the damage of this disaster, the company’s executives face an even bigger headache. Apple has stolen a march in digital media distribution which now even threatens to impinge on Sony’s gaming stronghold. Amazon is a huge force in ebooks, a growing force in music and almost certain to make a stab at the App space – including gaming – in the coming months. Microsoft has a superior online gaming service and a trusted brand, and is very likely to bring serious weight to bear in digital media, perhaps as a key thrust of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system. And Sony? Sony just put a dunce hat on its head and went to sit in the corner. When PSN comes back online, the long and difficult process of rebuilding consumer trust will only be beginning.”

Ridiculous. This.

13 Comments

  1. Sat, 30th Apr 2011 at 10:08 am

    The media has overreacted but that is the way they conduct business nowadays. Think about it the Video Game Industry is in between the holiday madness cycle and E3 so things are slow on the home front…. This mess by Sony gives an entire industry something to report. In addition, since most of the industry quotes from or uses another site, blog etc. to validate their information sensationalism rears its ugly head. You see same thing in the Hip-Hop world as well….. Then you have this issue occurring during the same time as Apple catching flack for the iPhone and iPad 3G basically recording the position of your phone so the masses were already tuned in privacy issues… .. Coupled with Sony issues with hackers for the last few weeks they were ripe for the picking….. With that being said IGN sucks and I am being kind to them and respectful to our wonderful Game Thirst family when it comes to my feelings concerning IGN. I refuse to divert of any of my valuable time and energy to them enough said. Great article as usual Ernice…

  2. Sat, 30th Apr 2011 at 4:23 pm

    It’s all about getting hits. They don’t really care. It’s been this way for a while so I’m not surprised at all.

  3. Sun, 1st May 2011 at 3:54 am

    hmmmmmmmm i wonder……..
    maybe its because the way they treat their fans?
    having the WORST customer service in the world!?
    having a massive security breach and waiting weeks to say boo?
    breaking consoles with bodgy firmware then charging for a solution?
    replacing bodgy firmware with a fixed one and not saying boo about it, just pretending it never happened?
    violating users rights?
    stealing features?
    lying to their customers?
    i dunno, one of the above!

  4. Sun, 1st May 2011 at 5:05 am

    @nick

    maybe its because the way they treat their fans?

    - That is subjective, microsoft nickle and dimes their fans to death, even subjecting their fans to a huge payment hike on live, so they can feed activision money, whether players played COD or not.

    having the WORST customer service in the world!?

    - I’ve had 4 systems break to RROD, and one to disc scratching. Trying to recall their customer service system at microsoft makes me laugh at your comment.

    having a massive security breach and waiting weeks to say boo?

    - What about how RROD took a year for Microsoft to admit it was a problem? What about how Microsoft still fails to admit that their system ruins discs, and faces many hard drive failures? Yeah… you’re wrong again.

    breaking consoles with bodgy firmware then charging for a solution?

    - The 360 broke regardless of firmware, no real need to comment on this one. Including firmware updates, and a crappy paid for online system that went down for 13 days over christmas of all times, because it couldn’t handle the traffic (PSN has trice as much traffic).

    violating users rights?

    - They have no violated any user rights, you might want to read a user agreement sometime in your life.

    stealing features?

    - This one makes no sense, you are whining about security breaches, yet you whine about the biggest vulnerability that was present? You want to see missing feature, go watch a Microsoft press conference. Go see the lack of HDMI or HDD in many 360s.

    lying to their customers?

    - Again, subjective. All companies do this. Sony has done this less than Microsoft, and comparably to Nintendo.

    You are exactly what this article is about, tunnel vision based on bias thoughts. I just demonstrated how Microsoft has been just as bad, or even worse really.

    The breach of personal data is comparable to information people freely give away on facebook, or is included in an email response, or white pages. Credit Card information was never touched.

    Seriously, get a clue.

  5. Sun, 1st May 2011 at 6:53 am

    @Nick. I disagree fully with you comment. Fully. I just don’t haven’t experienced the terribly customer service you’re talking about. And did the world end when the MS RROD fiasco happened? People didn’t react quite as close, and the disaster was just as big…

  6. Sun, 1st May 2011 at 9:47 am

    my god foliage you have to be the biggest hypocrite i have ever met!
    1 just because one company does something does it make it ok for others to follow suit?
    2 TOCs dont give you the right to REMOVE A ADVERTISED FEATURE!
    why do you think $only are getting sued for this?
    3 at least M$ solves the problem and admits to it eventually instead of sweeping it under the rug!
    i don’t see M$ releasing botched FW then charging to fix their screw up!
    u want to talk about the RROD?
    fine, then ill throw the YLOD out there!
    sony has had just as many reliability issues as M$, thats electronics for you its impossible to make a unbreakable system.
    at least M$ try to fix the issue!
    when i rang them with a scratched to hell crackdown 2 disk guess what they did?
    THEY SENT ME A NEW ONE!
    when i could not recover my gamer tag it was really close to closing time, they could not figure out what happened to it so the guy told me he would ring me back the following day.
    he did!
    and got it all sorted out.
    every time i have rang M$ i have had my issue sorted, and they have done everything they said they would.
    sony on the other hand…………
    first time i rang them was a few years ago because my bravia was playing up, was getting so hot it would shut off and have the red power light flash at me 9 times.
    so i rang sony and they told me will look into it and ring you back tomorrow.
    tomorrow waiting.
    the day after waiting.
    the day after waiting.
    so 3 days after the day they said they would call me back i had to ring them, sit on hold for half a hour, then ask what the hell why did you not ring me back?
    he’s responds?
    oh sorry i forgot!
    now if thats not the worst customer service in the world then nothing is!
    not enough?
    when my ps3 first broke on me i rang them, sent it in for a faulty disk drive.
    was told it would be back in a MAXIMUM of 6 weeks!
    12 weeks later i get it back, and the bloody drive was still broken!
    so i rang them back, told them off and took it back in.
    another 5 weeks later FINALLY got it back and it was working.
    or the time i could not get my move controller to sync, all they could tell me is to try a different console, or a different controller.
    they make the product, but they don’t know how to fix it?
    what the?
    or my PSN debacle, i noticed there were some strange charges to my card so i rang sony to ask what they were.
    was told there definitely not from my account and to ring my bank for a refund.
    so i did so, then several weeks later i get a error message on my ps3 saying i could not access PSN with this account.
    so again i rang them up and was told it was because i got a refund for the charges THAT WERE NOT MINE!
    so im getting punished and kicked off PSN for doing something the previous tech support rep told me to do?
    WTF?
    after god knows how many phone calls they refuse to open my account till i reverse the charges, so i say fine ill reverse the charges but i need you to ring my bank and lket them know im the account owner.
    you think they would be able to do such a simple task!?
    of course not!
    no, sorry its against our policy they say.
    so now im locked out of my 5 years of hard work, game saves, trophies, hundreds of dollars worth of ps1 and PSN games, all gone because sony cant be stuffed to ring my bank!
    now, you still want to tell me sony does not have the worst customer support in the world?
    PLEASE!
    lucifer would be easier to deal with!

  7. Sun, 1st May 2011 at 9:50 am

    people did not spit the dummy over the RROD?
    so why did M$ cop countless lawsuits?
    last time i checked M$ got a hell of allot more lawsuits over the RROD then sony have had over the PSN breaches!
    M$ have been put under the frying pan plenty of times, in fact more times then sony!
    so if anyones getting a free pass its sony!

  8. Sun, 1st May 2011 at 11:54 am

    That is the thing NICK. The otherOS was a feature added after the ps3 was launched because Sony felt it would be cool feature. Since it was added after launch by firmware, Sony can remove it at anytime without getting in trouble. If the feature was apart of the system in box, then they would be in trouble, but since it was added by firmware, they are in the clear, and if you want to us otherOS so bad, us your computer. You are so ridiculous and so are the kids who buy consoles today. They want more and more and more and more, and get mad when a company has to take something away that they ADDED at a later time because people abuse it. I want to go back to the good old days when it was just a console for games, and online capabilities. Keep crying your river over your otherOS and how bad Sony is, but remember every company is like that, and don’t think for one second MS would not remove a feature if it was a security threat. How about this for good customer support for MS. I had just bought a prepaid 12 month gold card and put it on my xbox account, and decided, since i do not use my credit card anymore, I will just remove it. So I removed it from my account and guess what happened to my Gold account, it got cancelled. I called MS and told them that my Gold membership was cancelled and they said “Oh yeah, you must have a credit card on your account to keep Gold.” So i said i will put my card back on my account and asked if it will reinstate my 12 month Gold and they said no because it has been cancelled. So they gave me 1 month free and that is it. So i got put out $50 because I would not leave my credit card on my account and i did not even know that, and i did not even by the 12 month with that card. So do not even talk about screwing your customers and bad customer support. Every company does it but i have experienced it less with Sony.

  9. Sun, 1st May 2011 at 12:03 pm

    As far as your experience with MS, it is totally opposite for me. Along with the story i told a minute ago, I contacted them about many things and they just tell me to hang on and then hang up because they have no clue what they are doing. Also, I am very anal about my disc, and when my xbox randomly scratched my disc, and I contacted MS about it, all they said was you probably moved your xbox while it was on and it got scratched, so since it was user error we cannot help. You must the one lucky person in the world that MS actually helped and Sony didn’t. All of friends cannot stand MS customer service. You know what, it just my be the customer service in Australia. In the US though, MS sucks, and Sony is okay, not great, but okay.

  10. Sun, 1st May 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Industry?

    The Western part of the video games industry obviously particularly hate US & UK … but certainly not the East: Japan, Asia, South America, Europe and a minority in the US & UK.

    And how about the majority of the billions who owns PlayStation hardware and games?

    “But there’s a nasty trend happening right now that’s somewhat startling and disheartening at the same time. There’s a saying that goes “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. It means eventually, what’s in one’s heart will come out through the mouth, making known one’s true feelings towards a thing, or somebody. While scouring many websites, especially the most prominent ones, all I can see right now is hate towards Sony. Like a lion after its prey, they go after the giant and rip it apart like they wish the PlayStation brand was already dead. From IGN to Eurogamer, and VG247 to Gamasutra, there’s a pervading theme that seems to say “kill the dog while it’s down”, and, “make sure it’s beaten to death”.”

    Although I strongly AGREE that these sites use sensational PS3 press articles to get tons of hits but what I see wrong is the negativity in the industry this practices produce. That makes people irritated all the more instead of having a healthy gaming life.

    Yeah these sites has been rumored as being considered big anti-PS3 sites with controversial articles & publications.

    But in this PSN outage situation I can confirm that they went all out to perfectly take advantage of truly bringing the PlayStation brand down and showed their true colors & motivation.

    This NEGATIVITY is the cancer that must be put to death and must not be allowed to corrupt the well being of gamers.

    What an exposed shame.

    Me, I will just try to have a positive outlook on my gaming life and enjoy my games yet being vigilant about anything that will destroy the good stuff.

  11. Wed, 4th May 2011 at 4:01 am

    I believe when a company screws up, they SHOULD be hung out in public. Otherwise they simply wont take this thing seriously..

    I dont know, you guys are saying that IGN is pro XBOX? Well, Sony deserves less burn from the heat (due to their superior non RRODing consoles and games) but the degree to which you guys defend Sony over MS plain shows which one you guys clearly support.

    As journalists, people would expect you guys to be unbiased to both industries.. Now im pretty sure ive never seen an article defending MS from their screw ups but Sony never failed to receive support from you guys.

    I mean, dont get me wrong, SONY DOES deserve more support, I agree, but the problem is, you guys cant go about calling other sites biased when you yourselves are :/

  12. Wed, 4th May 2011 at 5:21 am

    Have you really gone through gamesthirst and checked out the many pro-ms articles we’ve written? I’m sure you haven’t so let me help you out with two link: http://www.gamesthirst.com/2010/06/28/the-reasons-why-ps3-will-end-up-in-last-place-this-console-generation/

    The first is one of our most controversial articles….Here’s another:

    http://www.gamesthirst.com/2010/07/16/xbox-360-slim-it-only-does-everything/

    Now go ahead and call us Xbox 360 fanboys!

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