Videogames, politics, science, all the important things in life.

A children’s treasury of Sony PR douchbaggery

Posted by nfinit on October 12, 2009

My favorite subtext this console generation is witnessing Sony’s complete meltdown as they flail blindly at Nintendo and Apple and Microsoft and the horrible damage they’ve inflicted upon their loyal; insane fanbase as a result.  Most recently– as in two hours ago– this particular bit of corporate malice came to light:

Also reported by Destructiod who are, of course, being way funnier than I am.

For those of you who don’t know exactly what’s going on here– A couple months ago when Sony announced the release of the PSP Go, they also announced plans to (hopefully) allow PSP Go owners to download the games they’ve already purchased free of charge– This was something of a concern to prospective PSP Go owners as the PSP Go doesn’t actually incorporate the regular PSP’s disc drive.  Thus if you already owned a substantial legal PSP library (and to be fair, not many people did, thus necessitating the release of the PSP Go in the first place), you wouldn’t be shut out of playing your catalog of games.  Don’t worry, Sony said.  They had A Plan.

The Plan turned out to be waiting until the Go was released to reveal that they couldn’t actually figure out a way to do it.  The Go is a new system; go out and buy some games!

But wait!  Sony Europe actually had A Plan.  Sorta.  The PSP Go Rewards Program– If you registered your regular PSP  online with at least one UMD in the slot you were thus entitled to download three free PSP games from a list of seventeen.  It only worked once per system, but it was something.  Well, until, y’know, this.  Now PSP Go owners who download their free Go games through their PS3s– as Sony encourages PSP Go owners to do– find their PSP games locked inexorably to their PS3s instead.  Sony says they’re working on it, but well.  We’ve already seen what happens when Sony says “We’ve got a plan”, the “plan” will likely involve something like buying separate PSP Go units for each free game you are entitled to, or keeping your PSP Go tethered to your PS3 using a special iridium-coated USB cable sold separately through a program insured by Lloyd’s of London.

But as far as great Sony PR cock-ups go, this one is largely forgettable.  Indeed, it’s becoming of an endearing tradition:

PS3 Backward compatibility yes/maybe/no/how ’bout we sell it to you instead?

It’s a testament to the staggering number of Sony PR embarrassments over the past few years that this incident has received so little press.  A couple weeks ago minutes from a Sony Computer Entertainment America/Sega meeting from August were leaked online, revealing, among other highly classified items, that Sony intended on selling every single PS2 game released online through the Playstation Network Store for emulation on the Playstation 3.  Ordinarily this would be terrific news, after all the network infrastructure to sell these games is in place and the PS3 features a cavernous hard drive made for this sort of distribution model.  However (you’ll notice always a “However” with Sony PR, said in dark, ominous tones like the lid of a sarcophagus slowly scraping open) this came to light shortly after the release of the Playstation 3 Slim, of which backward compatibility had  been, according to Sony’s final word on the matter; killed dead.  They had no intention of ever returning PS2 functionality to the PS3, please stop bothering them about it.  Once again; It’s a new system!  Buy new games already!

Then this was revealed.  In other words, Sony killed PS2 compatibility in a blatant and cynical attempt to instead sell  those games on the Playstation Network Store.  NeoGAF meanwhile, where the story was leaked, rejoiced in news that there would soon be more shit to buy.

To recap:  Pay-to-PS2 good, four legs baaaaaaaaaaad.
Philadelphia to Sony:  GTFO

Then there was the time Sony defaced the city of Philadelphia. Well, not the entire city, just the parts where kids hang out.

Around late 2005 street art (hipster terminology for “graffiti”) started randomly sprouting up in American cities depicting  poleaxed children using PSPs as lollipops and skateboards, and well…

That, generally.  It didn’t take long for it to come to light that America’s foremost street artists weren’t all, in fact, Ridge Racer fanatics that decided to do a bit of coordinated free advertisement; instead it was all part of a Sony viral ad campaign.  It was very slimy and of course backfired, creating a wave of resentment among the very people with whom Sony was trying to generate buzz with, but at least Sony wasn’t actually just generating more urban blight, they had the uncommon good sense to obey local ordinances….

…except in Philly.  Turns out Philadelphia takes that whole “City of Murals” thing seriously.  Any company putting up outdoor advertisements must first apply with the city and state that they will take steps to clear an equal amount of square space of outdoor advertisement or seek special approval from the city.  Sony did neither and was met with a deadline to remove said art or be charged for each violation.  The marketing campaign was mysteriously withdrawn nationwide just before this deadline was to be met.  In other words Sony’s PR department ran an ad campaign that ultimately saw the company run out of every major city in America.

Vatican to Sony:  Also GTFO

Then this happened

The Netherlands to Sony… Oh c’mon, really?

Yes, really:

Okay so Sony sucks at PR, at least there’s not a pending class action lawsuit–

Wait, yes there is.

Turns out Sony doesn’t actually test their firmware very well before pushing out updates.  As a result every patch results in a wave of new bricked PS3 units, of which Sony is more than happy to repair provided you mail them your stricken unit and a check for $150.

John Kennedy (the disgruntled PS3 owner, not the assassinated 35th President of the United States) of Florida rightly thinks this is bullshit and has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Playstation 3 owners who’ve had their systems bricked by Sony’s mandatory software updates.  Sony has yet to release any statement on the issue (aside from a second update 2 weeks later intended to fix said firmware 3.0 bricking issues… a software update that can also randomly disable Blu-Ray playback), but it’s all the more perplexing when you realize Microsoft has for whatever reason managed to avoid a class action lawsuit for its own Red Ring of Death fiasco.  Of course Microsoft has also apologized profusely for the incident, offered to fix all units free of charge for three years after the system was sold and has up ’til now avoided being censured by the Pope.  So take that for what you will.


One Response to “A children’s treasury of Sony PR douchbaggery”

  1. hugh betcha said

    “White is coming”

    That is… Wow. That’s actually a thing? That actually happened?

    Why hasn’t that shown up on FAILBLOG yet?

    Apart from that, every single other thing here sits as a testament to why I’m very happy to not own a PS3 or PSP.

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