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.
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.
“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.”