Home > 'Journalistic' Malpractice, Video Games > Sony fires up PR; ‘journalist’ nods approvingly

Sony fires up PR; ‘journalist’ nods approvingly

Good job fellas, we can meet our quarterly projections now
Game ‘journalist’ eagerly waits for Daddy’s Sony’s arrival

In today’s episode of ‘journalistic’ malpractice, we have a story from Edge Online (?!)1 (nee Next Generation Online):

Sony says it doesn’t want to flood the market with minigame collections for PS3 Move, although it admits the release of shovelware utilising the new motion controller is a concern.

“It’s obviously a concern,” Sony Worldwide Studios VP Scott Rohde told Joystiq. “But, we’ve taken advantage of the fact that it is a PS3. Sports Champions, for example, has been in development for a while. We’re not announcing it yet, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the scope that’s offered in that title. These are not just one-off, ‘hey, play table tennis for fun.’ There’s an overall objective that crosses over all the different events in that title, and there’s a lot of long-term play value in there.”

You know what’s awesome about this (and that Edge absolutely knows beyond a shadow of a doubt): the licensors (that’d be Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) control what goes on their platforms with an iron fist–in other words, if a console-holder doesn’t want “Mini-Game Bonanza: Now Our Mini-Games Have Mini-Games!” on their machine, there won’t be one because they won’t manufacture the discs (or allow them on their closed networks, e.g. PSN or WiiWare).

In other words, Sony is “concerned” about mini-game collections like a tick is concerned about the quality of a warm, accessible spot it can exsanguinate or a prostitute is concerned with the good looks and gentlemanly demeanor of her John or, speaking of which, Edge is concerned about maintaining a facade of journalism by letting this go by without so much as some balancing text, like:

Of course, since platform holders control the stream of content to their hardware, if Sony doesn’t want such games made available, they can do so simply by refusing to approve the game in question, thus reducing the flow of such titles to a trickle.

There. Was that so hard? Not only does it frame the Sony whirligig’s comments in context, but it also gives the reader valuable information and allows them to more accurately judge whether they’re being spun. And it also has the virtue of reading like a piece of journalism and not the press release it is. (But, then, that would likely be why it isn’t there: so the spin gets through to the general consciousness and Sony looks like they’re fighting the good fight, even if it is all just Kabuki to give Sony fanboys a talking point that they can spread, like a virus, all over the ‘Net to show how they’re so much better than those evil, mini-game mongers, at Nintendo. Or it could just be that it makes it easier to sell ad space…to Sony…possibly.)

As for Sony’s primary comments (which, nicely, seem to dance around the issue completely by changing the subject–something else Edge let’s slide with nary a no peep), anyone that actually believes, for a minute, that Sony will turn down any game (short of pornography or one that barely runs) and, therefore, strangle off the licensing fees2 that are the lifeblood of any platform holder’s fortunes (especially in these dark days, post-PS23), probably also believes that Sony was inspired solely by the EyeToy when creating the Move or that Metroid: Other M was this close to being ‘on-rails’. (“I swear! It had nothing to do with generating traffic…mostly!”)

1 Shocking because, well, at least in print form, Edge has a very good rep in general and might be the closest thing the gaming world has to actual journalism. (Even if their reviews are written by ‘we’re so hardcore, we hate everything’ over-compensators.)
2 In a nutshell, licensing fees are the ‘protection’ money software publishers pay to the platform holders to make sure their games end up on shelves without having a nasty little lawsuit befall them. (It also covers the manufacturing fees and the rigorous, internal, QA process.)
3 As a case in point as to the power of a platform holder: Sony pretty much killed off 2D games on the PS and PS2 (and, by extension, generally) by simply refusing to license them. But that was easy: back then, money was rolling in by the tanker-full, so it was simple to say ‘no’ to the handful of 2D titles that were, allegedly, hurting the brand’s image for being too primitive and old fashioned in comparison to…this.

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