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Sony Blackballs Blog Over PS3 Rumor

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the shot-across-the-port-bow dept.

The Media 219

Earlier today Kotaku ran an article looking at the possible future of PlayStation 3's online component. They detail a form of Sony Mii, with achievements accruing in an actual room as you succeed in playing games. During their correspondence with Sony as preparation for the story, the company asked them very specifically not to run the story. They then threatened to pull PR support for the site if they ran the story. When the story went up anyway, Sony followed through with its threats: "So, it is for this reason, that we will be canceling all further interviews for Kotaku staff at GDC and will be dis-inviting you to our media event next Tuesday. Until we can find a way to work better together, information provided to your site will only be that found in the public forum. Again, I take absolutely no joy in sending you this note, but given the situation you have put me into, I have no choice. - Dave Karraker, Sr. Director, Corporate Communications, Sony Computer Entertainment America." Update: 03/02 02:27 GMT by Z : I am happy to be able to add that Sony and Kotaku made up after what sounds like a lengthy phone call. 'Good on you' to both Mr. Karraker and Mr. Crecente.

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Close to the mark? (1)

sylvainsf (1020527) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200226)

Perhaps Kotaku has described something very akin to a trade secret of Sony. This action certainly lends credence to the rumor.

Re:Close to the mark? (4, Interesting)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200374)

I seem to recall Sony saying achievements were stupid and that they wouldn't bother implementing them because no one wanted them, or something to that effect.

Apparently this is more Sony innovation in the "SIXAXIS" sense: bad mouth the innovator when people praise the idea, and then come back and "invent" it themselves and pretend it's some huge new feature, that they'd been planning for years!

I can understand why the may not want "innovation" of that kind leaked, instead preferring to very carefully "manage" the PR to try and pretend this is some great new idea and not just a crappy knock-off of both X-Box Live and the Wii's online services.

Re:Close to the mark? (4, Interesting)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200688)

I believe Sony also took a shot at Microsoft for poor backwards compatibility as well... and now they are releasing PS3s that play "only" 1000 games. I am not sure what that percentage is but I would guess it is only 50% of the PS2 library at most. I don't really care that much about BC, but I don't understand why they badmouth MS and Nintendo at first, then do the same thing later. However, having weak BC is not really "ripping off" MS or Nintendo like the achievements or motion controler.

Re:Close to the mark? (3, Interesting)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200650)

There's two schools of thought. This idea is so amazingly better then their announcement this weekend that it screwed Sony. Or that it's exactly what it is and it makes people realizing they are ripping off the other two consoles.

Either way it's Sony doing what Sony does, finding new ways to create bad press. They wanted bloggers and grass roots stuff happening for them, hell they paid for a couple blogs through advertising, but they don't realize bloggers are gamers, not just the press and they'll give stories to gamers and not put up with Sony telling them not to publish a rumor that they might have.

Now Kotaku is NOT 100 percent right here.... well wait, yes they are, they got a rumor, went to sony for a comment, got none worth publishing other then Sony telling them not to publish it, and then published it. Perfectly fine. But Sony is right to black ball them. However instead of telling them they are blackballed, they should have done it subtly, not talked to them, never grant interviews to them and so on. Doing this just produces a PR nightmare that is added to the list of nightmares that they have to deal with.

On the other hand because of all the other hell Sony has caused themselves, this is a relatively minor problem.

Re:Close to the mark? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201242)

"But Sony is right to black ball them. However instead of telling them they are blackballed, they should have done it subtly, not talked to them, never grant interviews to them and so on. Doing this just produces a PR nightmare that is added to the list of nightmares that they have to deal with.

On the other hand because of all the other hell Sony has caused themselves, this is a relatively minor problem."

Yes, but given that Sony couldn't even handle a simple maneuver as you suggested, one even the most socially inept geek could handle....it begs the following--if they cannot handle basic PR, why would I trust that they could handle the rest of their console which includes complex tasks such as hardware, software, and programmer/developer relationships?

The PS3 may be a glorious piece of hardware and have jaw-dropping graphics. But at this point, who the hell cares. A bank that isn't unstable that is perceived as unstable becomes unstable (as people withdraw funds due to fear, like a stock market bust); Sony has a product they are just mauling themselves with every action they take, so why should I drop $500-600 on the console + $200 for games for something going down the drain?

Nintendo with the Wii is printing money. Sony seems to be content flushing money down the toilet with the PS3; hell, I wouldn't be surprised if *PS2* purchases we see from all the industry console and games numbers has become the unintended *bright* side to the PS3's launch for Sony.

Re:Close to the mark? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18200718)

Perhaps Kotaku has described something very akin to a trade secret of Sony. This action certainly lends credence to the rumor.

Or perhaps they have no intention of doing this and would prefer such rumors did not get started. This guy had access to inside information, given by Sony, in exchange for certain agreements. He chose to violate those agreements even when the consequences were spelled out for him.

These understandings are nothing secret, in exchange for holding a review until release date, you are given early access to that information so you can prepare a review. Post your story 2 days early to "scoop" your rivals, get cut off from the privledged access because you can't follow simple directions.

The summary is trying to make out like Sony has done something wrong...

Re:Close to the mark? (1)

shimage (954282) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201366)

This guy had access to inside information, given by Sony, in exchange for certain agreements.

The only reason I'm replying to you, coward, is because some idiot thought that this gibberish was insightful. McWhertor got an "anonymous" tip from an insider, not an off-the-record insider tip from Sony proper. There were no agreements (e.g., an NDA) to be broken. Finally, it's not like Kotaku even posted it as fact; it's very obviously labeled as RUMOR (and McWhertor reiterates this repeatedly in the post). While I don't think Sony did anything immoral, I still think it was pretty stupid to react to the story in this way. Certainly, if their intent was to stifle the spread of this rumor, it has failed spectacularly. Or maybe they thought this would be a good way to spread the news?

Re:Close to the mark? (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201460)

...this guy had access to inside information, given by Sony, in exchange...

Please go read TFA before shooting your mouth. As I read it, Kotaku never worked on exclusive inside Sony information but on rumour (and called it a rumour up front) and published comments by Sony execs. It was Sony who asked them not to publish when asked about the matter, and I find no mention to Sony's giving any inside information.

If Kotaku isn't lying, some Sony execs decided to throw a tantrum about public information when they couldn't stop someone from drawing conclusions and publishing them. Whether Sony acted wrong I'll leave to Slashdoters to decide individually.

Re:Close to the mark? (1, Interesting)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200856)

A direct ripoff of two major competitors and combining them into one idea is a trade secret?

Sony's in even more trouble than I thought.

Blackball Sony (0)

ubuwalker31 (1009137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201522)

I personally refuse to buy any Sony product. They are complete scum.

And then... (5, Funny)

elvum (9344) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200228)

Dave Karraker, Sr. Director, Corporate Communications, Sony Computer Entertainment America, then picked up his ball and went home with it.

Re:And then... (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200310)

And thought to himself, somewhat sadly, "Why won't more people play with my balls? People used to love my balls! My balls were the best balls on the market. Now they just want to play with Bill's balls and Reggie's balls. Damn it! My balls are just sitting on the shelves collecting dust. I'm gonna get fired, and then I'm gonna have to play with my old, dusty balls all by myself."

Re:And then... (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201160)

I certainly will not be buying any more of Sony's balls.

This story had nothing to do with my decision not to buy another Sony product, I have been not buying Sony products for over a year now.

Re:And then... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201354)

I haven't handed one out for ages, but you have just won the Internet.

Re:And then... (2, Funny)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201058)

In a related note, Ken Kutaragi was heard to say, "The next generation doesn't start until Sony says Microsoft and Nintendo have started it."

Nutshell (3, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200236)

That'd be the difference between on the record and off the record. Now we need only await for the blogosphere's calm and reasoned response.

Re:Nutshell (4, Insightful)

ninti (610358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200490)

They never told them anything "off the record". They just told them not to publish a rumor they heard from someplace else or else they would punish them. Big difference.

Re:Nutshell (2, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200712)

Big difference.

Indeed it is. Thanks for the clarification.

Re:Nutshell (1, Interesting)

Castar (67188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201612)

It's not so much "punishing" them as it is "stop doing them special favors". They haven't threatened to sue or anything like that, they just said they wouldn't invite them to special press conferences and so forth.

Because it's Slashdot, here's a bad analogy:

I regularly loan my car keys to my neighbor, and let him borrow power tools and things. One day, he calls me up. He says he heard a rumor that I have leprosy. I ask him please not to spread the rumor around, I was planning on having a big meeting with all the neighbors in a week to talk about this. He goes ahead and spreads the rumor. So, in response, I stop loaning him my keys and so forth - our relationship becomes frosty. It's not like I'm trying to burn down his house, but he can't really expect me to keep doing him favors.

Waaaaaaah (4, Insightful)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200238)

Rule number one about secrets: If more than one person knows it, its no longer secret.

Re:Waaaaaaah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18200656)

Rule 0 about secrets - its not a secret unless you tell someone..

Re:Waaaaaaah (1)

Stolovaya (1019922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201194)

If you don't tell someone about it, what does that make it?

Re:Waaaaaaah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201340)

Schizophrenia

Re:Waaaaaaah (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201184)

I thought it was "wiiiiiiii"

Play by their rules, or else (4, Insightful)

Erioll (229536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200240)

They said not to do it. They reinforce it. And yet they do it anyways. Makes sense that they get blackballed. If you want exclusive info, you play by their rules. If you want to be a "stick it to them" outfit, then they'd better be prepared to get their information from other sources.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

krakelohm (830589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200274)

Exactly. How many times do you need to warn someone? If you don't play by the rules sometimes you get your ass swatted.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (0, Offtopic)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200340)

That is exactly what I was going to say. After all:
1) Site does interview with Company
2) Company says don't publish this story or there will be these consequences
3) Site publishes story anyways
4) Company follows through with said consequences

And this is news?

Re:Play by their rules, or else (3, Insightful)

Erioll (229536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200430)

And this is news?
That's the thing actually. In many cases (politics, news, etc), there's PLENTY of "we say there's going to be consequences, but actually we've never followed through... ever." But these guys did. Anybody may or may not agree with the initial decision to not release upcoming information, timing, etc, but it wasn't like it was a surprise to those who ran the story. Sony followed through on what they said, which is unfortunately a too-rare occurrence these days.

I wish honesty (harsh honesty, but honesty nonetheless) wasn't news, but these days it is.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (5, Insightful)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200510)

WRONG.
1. Site gets a rumor from an outside source
2. Site asks company about the rumor
3. Company denies rumor and asks site to ignore it
4. Site publishes rumor
5. Company punishes site

Since when does SONY dictate what journalists (let alone BLOGS) publish?

Exactly. Mod up. (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200602)

Couldn't have said it better my self.

This wasn't some kind of exclusive content or interview. It was a rumor.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200660)

Sony doesn't dictate anything, but it does determine how it will work with certain journalists. It's similar to the stories about the Bush White House: if a journalist publishes a lot of negative stuff about the President, that journalist is unlikely to be called on during press briefings, and can probably forget about getting any of the insider information that "senior White House aides" leak on a regular basis.

It's all politics, whether it's government or business.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200784)

Since when does SONY dictate what journalists (let alone BLOGS) publish?

Since when do BLOGS dictate who SONY gives non-public information too?

Re:Play by their rules, or else (5, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200812)

Since when does SONY dictate what journalists (let alone BLOGS) publish?

Since when is Sony forced to extend special favours to a site that has refused a request?

Sony isn't dictating what the blog can and cannot post, they're merely saying that if they post something they don't like, they'll stop giving them access to inside information. Seems fair enough to me - or would you expect Sony to continue treating them as they were no matter what the blog posted about them?

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201582)

or would you expect Sony to continue treating them as they were no matter what the blog posted about them?
Exactly... To be honest I think this is just the blog community pulling its usual drama queen routine, something it is notorious for.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (2, Insightful)

Null537 (772236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201000)

Since when does SONY dictate what journalists (let alone BLOGS) publish?

Since those BLOGS started getting special information news favours from SONY.

If a prostitute is sucking your cock you don't punch her in the mouth. The blog should have been aware of who was greasing their pole, and refrained from balling up their fist.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201350)

I lack mod points at the moment, but 3 other people said the same thing as you did but your version was by far the best.

nicely done!

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201516)

I don't see the problem, its a free world.

Kotaku is free to blog whatever rumours they want as long as they indicate it is rumour (which they did). And Sony is free to provide information and interviews to whoever they choose.

To me its just a case of both sides exercising freedom of choice (something slashdotters are very sensitive to). No need to get your knickers in a twist over it. Get over it.

Nothing to see here, move along.

In other news... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200562)

News at 11:00.

-Rick

Blackballed? (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200416)

I'm not sure even calling it blackballed is fair. When I think of blackballing, I think of someone deliberately trying to destroy the "blackballee" in an industry, not simply disconnecting them from a single "blackballing" company.

In other words, I'm totally justified in not letting you play with my ball. It's only when I try to stop you from using any balls, or play in any game I'm related to, that it becomes blackballing.

Re:Blackballed? (1)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200684)

When I think of "Blackballed" - I think of what happened to me at the leather bar last night.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18200468)

Agreed except this was a rumor not some kind of exclusive content.

The rumor wasn't confirmed by Sony. They asked kotaku not to publish the rumor because it was just a rumor.

They published it anyway..

Sony asked nicely for them not to publish the rumor but since when has that ever stopped anybody from publishing a rumor on the internet?

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18200474)

I'm not sure why the above comment is 'insightful'

You are either a journalist or a PR outlet. If you want exclusive news and you agree to conditions, such as obeying a companies PR plan or suppress news they don't like, you are no longer a journalist, you are a PR outlet.

Kotaku decided to be not Sony's bitch.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200538)

It wasn't exclusive content it was a rumor that Kotaku tried to confirm. Had Kotaku never tried to confirm the rumor and just published it then Sony would have never had a chance to ask them to please not publish the story. So what would you say if Sony blackballed a site for publishing a rumor and nothing more?

Re:Play by their rules, or else (5, Interesting)

W2k (540424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200586)

The thing is, Sony has no right to tell another website what they may or may not publish. Sony even trying to tell a journalist what he may or may not write about them is unethical. Kotaku did the right thing by standing up for journalistic integrity, and Sony's PR department are a bunch of asshats. Keeping information from being leaked is an internal matter for Sony. Once it's out, it's out. Now they've left an influential gaming blog with nothing left to lose in terms of their relationship to Sony. And Kotaku no doubt still has whatever source they got the rumours from.

It can be argued whether Kotaku was smart to act the way they did, but they are certainly right - and Sony wrong - from a moral perspective. The big mistake was the Sony PR guy threatening to blackball. To Kotaku, that must have been a sure sign they were sitting on some hot stuff. It would have been stupid not to publish at that point.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (5, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200910)

The thing is, Sony has no right to tell another website what they may or may not publish.

Agreed. And Kotaku has no right to future insider information.

This isn't about rights, it's about relationships.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (3, Interesting)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201436)

This is a good analysis.

Sony needs positive press a lot more than Kotaku needs help finding Sony stories; empirically, they were finding stuff Sony wasn't giving out even to the people they were supposedly helping out.

Sony just pissed off every video game blogger in the world. Kotaku just showed real class.

It's about relationships, and Sony doesn't understand any relationship but "you suck our cock and pay for the privilege". This is working against them now.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (2, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201678)

Sony just pissed off every video game blogger in the world. Kotaku just showed real class.

I still honestly don't think Sony did anything wrong. No one has a right to their information. And Kotaku is just doing what works for themselves. No big surprise or class there.

But I think Sony would have been smarter to quietly 'X' Kotaku's name off their buddy list rather than get all pissy about it.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201456)

Thing is they didn't get the information from Sony themselves. Sony may refuse to give them information but that doesn't stop Kotaku from getting said information from other sources. Either way they should have just denied the rumor and left it at that. Now we have no reason to see/hear the GDC yet if they denied the rumor people will still want to find out what, exactly, it was.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201010)

"The thing is, Sony has no right to tell another website what they may or may not publish. Sony even trying to tell a journalist what he may or may not write about them is unethical."

Companies place embargoes on their news material all the time, there's nothing sinister going on here. Professional journalists abide by them, especially if they expect to retain a good working relationship with said company.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201146)

Sony even trying to tell a journalist what he may or may not write about them is unethical.
I don't think the word 'unethical' means what you think it means.

PR is about three things:
1. Advocating and disseminating one point of view.
2. Crisis avoidance
3. Damage control

Sony's PR people were doing #2 when they first asked Kokatu not to publish that story and again when they threatened to blackball the site.

Kotaku did the right thing by standing up for journalistic integrity, and Sony's PR department are a bunch of asshats.
I'm not sure you know what "journalistic integrity" is about. It can be summarized as 'critical thinking' and 'not printing lies'. Sony's PR department, as I've mentioned above, was just doing its job.

It can be argued whether Kotaku was smart to act the way they did, but they are certainly right - and Sony wrong - from a moral perspective.
I fail to see how either organization has the moral high ground and you say nothing to support this assertion.

Kokatu decided not to print the threat along with the original article so that Sony could back away from it behind the scenes. Sony followed through & in the long run, Kokatu is the loser for it.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

Stolovaya (1019922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201276)

That could be argued. This is NOT good press for Sony. What happens when the next website prints something that Sony doesn't like? While difficult to do, it's made me think even less of them. Kotaku can report rumors all it wants to, as long as it reports that they received this information as a rumor.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

shimage (954282) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201588)

3. Damage control

Sony's PR department, as I've mentioned above, was just doing its job.

I wouldn't really say they're doing their job. Perhaps two thirds of it, but they seem to be making a miserable failure of "PR thing #3". People keep talking about how journalism is about relationships, and while that's true, it cuts both ways. Clearly, Sony sees Kotaku as more of a liability than a resources, but I don't see how Sony's actions change anything. Kotaku still has their mole, and the story not only got published, it's now on every gaming blog on the internet. Your opinion on this is obvious, but I wonder who will be the worse off for this falling out. Since I don't read Kotaku for their Exclusive Sony Insider Info, I'm not convinced that they'll suffer for it. Maybe it is a big part of what Kotaku is and I just never noticed; it's possible. Either way, we'll have to wait to see.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

Lynxara (775657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201732)

Anything published on Kotaku ends up on every gaming blog on the internet. That's probably why Sony didn't want the rumor appearing on such a prominent and well-regarded site to begin with. It would repeatedly cited as fact even if it was not, and Sony has had previous negative experiences with similar blog-fueled rumors in the past. While their response is excessive, it's certainly not unexpected.

Kotaku won't really suffer for this; they're widely perceived as being very biased in favor of Nintendo's products, and ridiculously critical of Sony and Microsoft's. Fans are angry at Sony at the moment and will likely support Kotaku's move as "sticking it to the man". What remains to be seen is whether Sony loses more from not having Kotaku coverage, or whether Kotaku loses more for not having Sony coverage.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

petehead (1041740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201422)

but they are certainly right - and Sony wrong - from a moral perspective

Let's say you have a friend and someone tells your friend the hot rumor about you getting a new job out of state. Then your friend asks you about it. You say, "I don't want to talk about it right now. Can you please not talk to anyone about it?" Then your friend goes and tells everybody that you are moving. Who is morally wrong here?
 
Kotaku has no moral responsibility to publish or not publish this type of rumor. It's not like it's a rumor about Sony's batteries catching on fire. Journalists often establish give and take relationships with sources and there is nothing wrong one side pulling out if the other side just takes.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201450)

If you run a company with strategic decisions and announcements against competitors, how would you like it if one of your employees leaked the information to media before a strategic date, effectively hurt your sales due to untimely leak?

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201610)

[quote]Sony has no right to tell another website what they may or may not publish.[/quote]

Sony didn't tell them what they can and can not publish. They just told them that there would be a consequence of they did publish... namely they would not get anything other then press releases from Sony from that point on. That is a perfectly fair thing to do.

I don't know what Sony said exactly to the blog, but what they should have done was offer a deal. In exchange for not publishing the rumor, Sony should have offered an exclusive interview or something like that. This is general what is done. The deal is "okay, you got us, but don't tell and we will reward you. Tell, and we will punish you." Most journalist are happy to take such deals.

Both sides are playing fair. Sony doesn't need to be nice to journalist/bloggers that leak information (even if they didn't get it from Sony), and bloggers/journalist don't need abide by requests of a corporation.

Sounds like good old free speech working to me.

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201316)

I dunno why you're all fussy about him walloping her. He done told her she'd get a whuppin' if she kept carryin' on like that.

*spits*

Seems fair to me. She wants to get all up in her man's face, she oughta expect a couple black eyes. Yup!

Re:Play by their rules, or else (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201774)

The smart move would have been to offer Kotaku an exclusive in exchange for an NDA. That way everyone's happy - Kotaku get a big scoop and Sony get to keep their secret. The dumb move would have been to threaten one of the most widely read news outlets covering your business with "not being invited to our next press conference".

I guess it comes as no surprise which Sony chose to go with. I don't think anyone's saying Sony weren't entirely within their rights, I think we're just saying they were really, really stupid. Kotaku will continue to get plenty of Sony stories just seconds after they're posted elsewhere, and now they and their readership will be less predisposed to spinning thing's in Sony's direction. Dumb.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18200258)

Blog decides to leak information Sony didn't want leaked yet. Sony says they're not going to do blog any more favors. Am I supposed to feel sorry for the blog or something?

Why say anything in the first place? (3, Interesting)

betamaxV2.1 (609267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200332)

If the information being discussed is so important to Sony's strategy or business, why discuss it with members of the MEDIA in the first place? It seems to me that if they wanted them to post a story or interview at a certain time or after a certain date they should have politely requested such an action.

Reacting the way that they did just isn't smart on any level. Something is really wrong with Sony. And I am not jumping on the Sony hating bandwagon either. With all of their problems (rootkits, batteries, flubbed product launches, etc) I don't see how any Sony investor could be happy with the way the company is headed. I would hate to see Sony go completely out of business. We all know that the more competition in the market the better. I honestly think that Sony has become to large. They need to split into separate entities and change their branding accordingly. The Sony name needs to refer to TVs, stereos, Walkmans, and other hardware since that is what Sony is/was originally known for.

Re:Why say anything in the first place? (1)

RiskyChris (999242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200402)

I doubt the information was so important that it is essential to Sony's lifeblood. Companies often disclose secrets to the media so that all outlets are given a reasonable chance to prepare material prior to some simultaneous media explosion. Kotaku's release of the information harms friends of Sony , i.e. the media outlets that play by the rules, so to keep a strong relationship with their partners, Sony closes contact with offending parties.

This is absolutely NOT a case of Sony being evil.

Re:Why say anything in the first place? (1)

Stolovaya (1019922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201376)

Except that this wasn't material given to Kotaku as information (as far as anyone knows; not sure about the source of the rumor). If it was information that was released early by Sony, then I could see Sony have *some* merit to asking the information not be published.

Grey (5, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200338)

This is a case of grey area if ever there was one.

We can argue that Kotaku was foolish and that Sony was harsh, but really it looks to me like both companies were doing their jobs.

It's in Kotaku's interest to publish rumors, to not be "under the thumb" of any one company they report on, and to do their journalism in as unbiased and unthreatened a fashion as possible.

It's in Sony's interest to dodge rumors, save important features for display at key media events, and handle their PR in the fashion they feel is best for their image.

Could Kotaku have tried harder to get Sony's blessing on the article? Maybe. Could Sony have been less harsh? Maybe. I don't think this constitutes a mistake on either's part, just a sad end.

Re:Grey (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200504)

> It's in Kotaku's interest to publish rumors,

This is hardly "rumor," though.

FTA: "During their correspondence with Sony as preparation for the story, the company asked them very specifically not to run the story."

If they were actually corresponding with Sony about the story then I'd say this looks much more like "proprietary information that, if you guys will just sit tight on it for a few days, we'll show off to you at that conference we invited you to next week."

> to not be "under the thumb" of any one company they report on,

Again, they're hardly "under Sony's thumb." That's more like Nintendo Power. This is simply a case of "Just like every other business in the world, we like to have press conferences and announce things on a set schedule. If you'll just play along and help us maintain our schedule then we'll give you inside access that other outlets don't get. Oh, no? Well, see you later."

> and to do their journalism in as unbiased and unthreatened a fashion as possible.

Sony did neither. They simply refused them further access to inside information.

That being said, DIE IN A FIRE YOU AMORAL ROOT-KITTING BASTARDS!

Re:Grey (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200972)

If they were actually corresponding with Sony about the story then I'd say this looks much more like "proprietary information that, if you guys will just sit tight on it for a few days, we'll show off to you at that conference we invited you to next week."
I think that's a mischaricterization of the story. The article says they got the rumor, and tried to confirm with Sony. That sounds like journalism to me. "So, Mr Chenny, we hear you leaked Ms. Plame's identity" "nyah.. if you print that.. we will cut you out of future information.. nyah". Sure, it's not an important story, but this is Kotaku's beat.. they report on video games. They did their job.

If I feel bad for anyone here, it's sony. They flubbed this one.. Kotaku has played their cards tight here, they get the scoop, and they scoop Sony trying to bully the industry journalism back into line. And what do they lose? Sony won't be covered as much on Kotaku.. oh well.. Hey, I'm seeing lots of good stuff about Wii and 360 on there!! I guess I know where to spend my money!

Sony's error here is in presuming that access to its developers is SO key, that the denial of that access will harm this site. Sony, you are not a government.. and information about your games is still good, whether it's issued on the day of, or a week after you want everyone talking abou it. Kotaku on the other hand, is making a play for legitimacy.. which tends to help journalists.

-GiH

Re:Grey (4, Insightful)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200700)

Er, "news" and "journalism" do not involve "rumor". Rumor can lead you to something, but if you are going to publish a "high ranking source" article, you better be sure that source is high ranking, and that your information is reliable. Otherwise, it is, as Kotaku stated, "a rumor". An "anonymous source" does not cut it: that could be my grandmother. Spreading rumors is neither journalism nor publishing news.

Okay, so here's probably what happens: someone leaks something to Kotaku. Who's leaking it? We don't know; nor do we know why. But they think it's pretty good stuff. So Kotaku pursues the story with their contacts at Sony. Here's the problems:
1. How many new services or products have been announced as "confirmation" of an apparently "off-the-record" story?
2. In their correspondence with their "official sources", was any information about the "rumor" confirmed or denied? If the official source says, "yes, but please keep quiet about it", well, then you've got a worthless source and a privileged one, and -- even if you attribute everything to the "worthless" source --, your decision to publish could have been and probably was motivated by the confirmation through the privileged source. And that's how your privileged source is going to view it.
3. How did Kotaku establish contacts with the "leak"? From the Sony PR perspective, the answer is going to be, "most likely through the access we gave them to our company".

I have no love for Sony here, but Kotaku's argument for a "journalistic ethical stance" is pretty thin. They weren't "just doing their job".

But I guess the competition among game blogs is fierce, as it is for the consoles they write about.

Not a Big Deal (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200358)

Its Sony's right to give out information to whoever they choose.

I think the more interesting thing here is that they're planning on copying Nintendo and Microsoft's ideas. Its a pretty cool combination of the two ideas though.

Re:Not a Big Deal (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200448)

Yeah I agree. Someone dig up the quote from Sony before the PS3 release about how Achievements and Gamer Points are silly and aren't needed. I'm too lazy. And tired. And I might have dreamed it.

They're both right (5, Insightful)

Vaibhav_Locke (1010373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200380)

Both sides have a point here. Sony depends on the media to generate buzz about their products and releases, and so provides them with a lot of exclusives and insider information. The flip side of this is, they do not expect information on a service that is in development to become public before they are ready to announce themselves However, Kotaku did not receive this information from Sony. They only went to Sony to confirm it, this was not something sony provided to them and so they had no right to ask Kotaku not to run it. I wonder how it would have played out if KT had not been so diligent, and just reported the rumor without attempting to confirm it.

No Loss - Kotaku Is A Shithole (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18200394)

The dolts who run Kotaku got lucky and tried to milk their ten minutes of fame and go slapped down. Enjoy your brief blip of noteritery while you play up your "sticking it to the man" spin.

The last thing a company needs is someone random fanboy starting a rumor about a new product and claiming it is supposed to deliver both cold fusion and world peace. And then have your company sit through a torrent of:

"New Product Fails To Deliver Cold Fusion And World Peace" type stories.

Hate to say it... (3, Interesting)

JRSchulke (977144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200398)

I hate to say it, but I have to side with Sony on this one. They had an agreement and it was broken. It sounds like Kotaku perhaps had some privaleged information and took advantage of it. I know Sony has been digging its own grave lately, but it seems like everyone jumps on any chance to report anything negative about them. And there's a lot of it out there. -justin

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

ninti (610358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200522)

"They had an agreement and it was broken" What agreement? They got a rumor and went to Sony to ask if it was true. Sony could have just said "no comment", but they said "don't publish that or we will punish you", and then did so. WTF is that?

Re:Hate to say it... (4, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200558)

All Kotaku asked was to confirm it. Sony went beyond confirming and denying and said you publish this we are through. Thats not how you play ball in the media market and in the end its going to kill Sony's relationship with every media source since as a news organization I would be less likey to publish ANYTHING unconfirmed about Sony, which is the #1 way these companies trump up excitement for their machines.

All Sony did was shoot themselves in the foot to the people most likely to buy their stuff. They could have simply had said "no comment" and be done. Now everyone knows Kotaku had solid info (and thus ruined the surprise tuesday), and Sonys PR people are a huge bunch of assholes.

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

slantyyz (196624) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200612)

Yeah, but Sony brings on all the PS3 hate on themselves. Harrison and Tretton keep saying the dumbest things, which just compounds on the hate.

Personally, I really like the PS3 (enough to buy one), but I can also understand why everyone hates it. It's expensive (for a console, but not a BD player) and it seems like the Sony brass doesn't care about their core market, the gamers, who don't have loads of cash oozing out of their pockets.

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200676)

I hate to say it, but I have to side with Sony on this one. They had an agreement and it was broken. It sounds like Kotaku perhaps had some privaleged information and took advantage of it. I know Sony has been digging its own grave lately, but it seems like everyone jumps on any chance to report anything negative about them. And there's a lot of it out there. -justin


As usual RTFA. This isn't like some people are trying to spin it. Kotaku had a normal press relationship with Sony. They had a test unit (kotaku is big enough that you can't act like this is some sort of bribe) and some invitations to press events. They contacted Sony to try and confirm the rumor and got shot down.

This is just what it appears to be. Typical corporation trying to cover up stories by threatening to withdraw future release of info. Kotaku just happens to be big enough to laugh at Sony for even trying. This is actually quite a snafu on Sony's part. They probably think they just dusted off some small blog but here they are sitting on slashdot.

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201236)

What agreement? This was not information provided by Sony, but embargoed. This was a proper legitimate rumor.

Good (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200412)

The web is full of sites that kowtow to vendor's marketing departments. These websites are not worth the electricity they run on. Every reporter and ever editor will have inherent biases, but what we don't need (and have waaaay too much of) are stories that are biased by the reporter's desire to stay in the good-graces of the companies they are reporting on.

If the choice is between press-release reporting and real reporting, I'll take real reporting every day.

Rumors are reported daily on every game blog (2, Interesting)

Maddhatter1 (991477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200508)

and this one was no different. It's not like Kotaku just had an interview with some sony higher ups and released information before they were told to. They reported a rumor and that's it. It would've just been seen as a rumor if Sony hadn't all my confirmed it with this overblown response.

And I should care why? (0, Offtopic)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200548)

Um, Sony told them not to publish their article. I'd believe that Sony didn't want the news/idea out there yet. They may have been afraid that it would be easy for Nintendo or MS to copy the concept for their systems once published. From the slashdot summary alone, I actually support Sony's decision on this one. Sony is just blackballing that blogger's site. Sony isn't sueing them. Sony isn't black balling every blogger. Sony is just targetting this one site that had Sony insider knowledge and Sony asked them not to publish the store. This blackballing by Sony is the polite responsee by Sony. So what if a blogger gamer site that I've never heard of before till it made slashdot's front page gets black balled by Sony! They can still cover Nintendo's and MS's products. They just lost out on "insider" news from Sony. If they wanted future insider Sony stores, they should listen and do what Sony asks. Gosh, I don't even know why this made it to slashdot except that Sony has been evil lately. All of Sony's actions aren't evil though. This action doesn't look evil to me. It looks polite to me.

Re:And I should care why? (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200750)

two points. 1) they could have said no comment, all it was was a rumor up till that point.

2) Technically they are copying MS and Nintendo on this one. The rumor basically said it was a MS style achievements system which used Nintendo styled Mii's.

3) People are calling it a blogger, but its not a blogger its one of the biggest web based news organizations that doesnt have a real world based presence, Gawker Media. Gawkers on slashdots main pages all the time, and infact many of Slashdots tech stories have been coming from Kotaku, Gizmodo and Lifehacker recently, all Gawker media sites.

4) The media is supposed to report news. Rumors are newsworth items. Sony can blackball all they want, but in the end all it does is make Sony look bad. Just look at Apple when they pulled a stunt like this with other sites in the wake of their misinformed lawsuit. The rule is as a company if you dont want a secret to get out early you keep the lid tight. You dont blackball media sources otherwise the hand you bite is going to slap you right back.

Re:And I should care why? (1, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200830)

Who is Sony to tell a website what not to publish? Kotaku wasn't breaking any NDA, they weren't even shown this stuff by Sony under some sort of verbal agreement to secrecy. They heard a rumor through unofficial channels, and when they called Sony to ask about it, they were threatened. Sony didn't politely ask them not to publish it, they placed demands on them. They were dicks about it.

Was this "Evil" for Sony? I don't know if I'd go that far. But it was most certainly stupid. Kotaku isn't the end all of video games, but it is a popular site, and is a potential source of lots of good free PR. They don't have to kiss Kotaku's ass if they don't want to, but going out of your way to piss them off isn't smart either.

And so now instead of a discussion about the PS3's new features, we're discussing how Sony treated a random website. No matter which side of this debate you fall on, how is it in Sony's interest to have the discussion derailed like that? I don't buy the "any publicity is good publicity line". When you're dealing with a market that's knowledgeable about your product (I have no doubts that 95% of the hardcore gamers out there keep up with video game news on the internet to some degree), then bad press is not what you want.

Sony just keeps making their own lives harder. If I was a Nintendo or MS Xbox division exec, I'd constantly be laughing my ass off at Sony.

Re:And I should care why? (3, Informative)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201118)

Let me summarize the article for people who haven't read it.

This was not insider information.

This was not information from SONY.

This was information from an anonymous source.

This was reported as a rumor from an anonymous source.

They called SONY to inquire about the rumor before publishing.

SONY neither confirmed, nor denied, the rumor, but instead threatened the blog if the blog should run the article.

The blog ran the article.

SONY followed through on threat.

{-- end of story --}

{-- begin commentary --}
SONY should have confirmed the rumor, and then asked the blog to wait for the okay to run the story as being the official word of SONY, or else face the wrath of SONY and lose their insider access. That would have been in the spirit of the agreement between the blog and SONY.

Punishing a blog for publishing an rumor from an anonymous source is just another bone-headed SONY move.

Re:And I should care why? (2, Insightful)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201688)

They may have been afraid that it would be easy for Nintendo or MS to copy the concept for their systems once published.
They were terrified that in some unimaginable future, the Xbox 360 would have a universal Achievements system, and the Nintendo Wii would have customisable Avatars...

Rumor and speculation? (3, Insightful)

kjlong (929549) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200596)

Why not just "no comment"? Would it have been quite as big a story if Sony had just refused to comment instead of throwing out lots of threats? Does Microsoft do this? I know Apple sues, but what do other companies do when faced with this kind of thing? Did Sony ask them to hold off on the story, or try to work with them, or just throw out threats?

Re:Rumor and speculation? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200888)

Exactly. If Sony had just said no comment, they still might have had their big announcement slightly ruined, but then at least we'd all be talking about these new features instead of talking about how Sony threatened and then blacklisted a video game website.

I guess they bet on Kotaku folding, but I'm not sure what made Sony think the odds were in their favor.

Typical Sony (2, Interesting)

Tepshen (851674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200606)

I think that Sony will find this happening more and more as they continue to put out crazy marketing. Its gotten to the point that the PR that they dole out is so innacurate that bloggers find themselves actually researching stories on thier own to get accurate information. Sony doesnt want this because the actual news regarding thier plans is nowhere near as good as they would like us to belive.

Re:Typical Sony (0, Redundant)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18200654)

Quite honestly, that's a big load of crap.

This is the kind of thing that happens with almost every company's press relations. If a publication doesn't honor a street date, or prints a rumor against the request of the company, they receive sub-par treatment when it comes to interviews and exclusives. Every company does this. The only reason this is a story is because this site has an anti-Sony bias.

Re:Typical Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18200858)

This is the difference between a "news site" and a "Puppet" I'm too old for a puppet show.

Re:Typical Sony (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201022)

And no site that honors that vendor crap has a lick of journalistic integrity. It's a rumor, not prerelease software, a movie, or hardware with an embargo on the release date. The company can say no comment. Hell, the company has little power at all if the journalists collectively tell their PR department to fuck off.

What site without PS, Sony, or Playstation in it's name *doesn't* have an anti-Sony bias these days? Hell, even AVSForums is a bit anti-sony. Is it the few, the proud, the recently made poorer by $600-$700 Sony supporters against the world? Apparently, and apparently all of the bad press is entirely because of this horrible horrible *bias* all of these other places have against Sony. Nothing to do with the reality of the company, their hubris, their backpeddling, their statements that go straight against established facts, and their actions.

Fuck, if this rumor is true, which their actions seem to indicate it is, but we'll find out at GDC, the age old adage "What Nintendo makes, Sony takes" gets the briefly modified to "What Nintendo and Microsoft make, Sony takes." For the umpteenth time they will have panned things their competitors do only to quietly adopt them and claim "It's our innovation!" That's unfrickin' believable.

I take no pleasure from your pain :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18200920)

Again, I take absolutely no joy in sending you this note,...

Translation: I've got this warped world view where punishing people for "disobedience" is the greatest pleasure there is - but I have to pretend I'm not enjoying this so people don't think I'm wierd.

actual room... (5, Funny)

wpegden (931091) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201006)

They detail a form of Sony Mii, with achievements accruing in an actual room as you succeed in playing games.
I can't help but see this sentence as as indicator that the Slashdot crowd is a bit disconnected from reality. In what sense is this an "actual" room??

Re:actual room... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18201380)

oh it will be a real room. sony has planned to build a mega-warehouse kinda like a self-service storage center. from what i hear, every gamer will have their own "room" to display their "achievements or awards". on problem is that its on the moon, so actually visiting your room in person is pretty darn hard. unless you have ties with nasa or John Carmack, you just have to have "faith" in sony that is there...

Apple and Sony (3, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201096)

Wow, Apple and Sony sound more and more similar every week with stories like these. Products going for "five hundred and ninety-nine US dollars", company getting pissed at bloggers for leaking stories, what's next? Maybe someone from Sony will diss DRM. We can only hope.

For this Sony went ballistic? (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201126)

Who really couldn't have guessed that Sony would badmouth and then copy Xbox Live Achievements and Miis while passing it off as innovation? And of course several people have. Really, being dicks like this just adds more credence to the rumor than ignoring it would have.

Next up: WHOOPS I guess rumble isn't so last-gen after all.

No story here (0, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201218)

Journalist get's information.
Company says "If you publish it we won't talk anymore"
Journalist run's story.
Company won't tlak to them anymore.

Everybody did their job, big deal.

The Journilst decided the story was important enough to take the risk, it happens to some degree with every story.

Kotaku was anti-Sony anyways (0)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201320)

I'm surprised Sony took so long to pull it's support from the site. If you look at it's entries, they always bash Sony while praising Microsoft. Kotaku and it's parent, Gawker media, are in the pockets of Redmond.

The real news here (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201468)

I think the real news here is that Kotaku actually had a reliable source for one of their stories.

hmmm (1)

TB (7206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201660)

Their biggest mistake was talking to Kotaku in the first place, those guys are total idiots and do nothing but spread rumours and false information.

For the love of god... (1)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 7 years ago | (#18201748)

... can someone just put a bullet in this corporation and put it out of it's misery. Watching it die like this is just painful.
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