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Sony needs to just STFU

12:00 PM on 07.12.2009 // Jim Sterling

I have earned myself a reputation as a "Sony basher" and a "PS3 hater" by people who clearly do not know the difference between the two. Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate the PlayStation 3. In fact, I love it, and at the time of writing, it is my favorite current-generation console. This could change in the future, as my favorite system is decided by what games are appealing to me at any given moment, not by which one my Mommy and Daddy just happened to get me for Christmas. Right now, the PS3 is top of my chart.

However, it is true that I bash Sony, frequently and without mercy. This is because I do love the PS3, and all I see is a company squandering a great piece of technology and mindlessly posturing instead of taking the time to examine its own faults. Sony is acting like it's king of the hill, like it's the industry leader, when it's currently holding third place. 

I'm a Sony basher, but it's only because I don't hate the PS3, not because I do. The simple fact of the matter is this: Sony needs to STFU, because the constantly flapping mouths of the platform holder's PR department is the single biggest problem the PlayStation 3 has.

For the past three years, Sony has conducted itself with an arrogance and smugness that it simply doesn't deserve. We should have been clued in to just how bad Sony's mouth was going to fuck the PlayStation 3 when it dragged forth its notoriously awful 2006 E3 press conference. The one where Kaz Hirai shouted "RIIIIIDGE RACER," to a silent audience, and announced the PS3 price point of "599 US Dollars" as if he were doing the world a favor. Before the PlayStation 3 was even given life, Sony had managed to make it memorable for a series of running jokes more than anything else.

Since that time, Sony has systematically set about using words to reduce the PS3 to a laughingstock. If they're not explicitly saying something stupid, Sony executives are instead choosing to flap their gums rather than doing something practical to help the PlayStation brand regain its place as the dominant leader. Sony has bred contempt from consumers and encouraged a lack of confidence in publishers, with its recent stream of bullshit truly indicating just how out of touch with reality those in charge have become.

As you may already know, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick recently threatened to pull support from Sony if it didn't cut the price of the PS3. Now, whether or not Sony does what Activision wants is not what matters to me. I bought my PlayStation 3 last year, and I'm relatively happy with what I got for my money. It's not going to affect my life, one way or another, if the PS3 has a price drop. However, when Activision says something, you really need to listen. What you don't do is what Howard Stringer chose to do: basically laugh at the most powerful third-party publisher in the world. 

"He certainly likes to make a lot of noise," was Stringer's blasé response. "I lose money on every PlayStation I make."

Let's get one thing clear right now -- Sony needs Activision more than Activision needs Sony. Activision makes a metric fuck-ton of money on the Wii, PC, Xbox 360 and DS. It could halt production of all PS3 games today and still be rolling in money tomorrow. That's not to say that Activision is prepared right now to pull support from Sony -- Activision loves money, and it still makes money from the PlayStation brand. However, why Sony feels it should further antagonize Activision, I do not know, but it makes Sony's PR department look like clueless dipshits ... as usual. 

Regardless of whether or not Activision's threat is empty, it's still the world's largest third-party publisher, and you don't respond to a company that influential by essentially laughing at it and making light of its concerns. I don't like Activision as a company in the slightest, but when it talks, you need to fucking listen. Sony, however, would rather chat shit than listen to anything but the sound of its own voice. This is not going to help.

Then there's the much-lauded "ten-year cycle." 

This is basically Sony's get-out clause, the same crutch it's been leaning on for the past three years. As I've stated in the past, it's very much the same excuse that certain religious folk use when they say, "God moves in mysterious ways." It's a vague and purpose-built justification for any illogical fallacy and unexplained stupidity that Sony might commit. Also, because it's based upon things that are yet to be proven real, there's no way one can argue against it. It basically allows Sony to sit back and say, "All part of the plan," while providing no legitimate reasoning or accountability. 

And it's bullshit. If what Sony says is true, that means we have another seven years of PlayStation 3 to look forward to. Seven years is a long time for anybody, but in the fast-paced videogame industry, it may as well be centuries. I simply don't believe for one moment that Sony will continue to be putting all its support behind the PlayStation 3 in seven years' time. By all means, if I am wrong, you are welcome to link back to this article seven years from now and say so. There's simply no way a PS3 successor won't be out before then, and when that's out, Sony will stop supporting the PS3 to its fullest. Mark my words. 

Let's play devil's advocate for a moment, however, and say it is true. What is Sony going to do when the next Microsoft and Nintendo systems are released? Is it going to once again drag its heels and release what it pretentiously calls "future technology" in the PS4, at yet another hilariously high price? Will we just get E3 2006 all over again? If Sony continues to employ the same morons that it currently has, then quite possibly so. 

Then there are just the generally inane and pathetic things that Sony executives have said over the years. How about the time Kaz Hirai said that Sony was still the "official" industry leader? Sure, it sounds delusional, but he certainly backed up his claim ... by pretending that Nintendo didn't exist and ignoring Microsoft completely:

This is not meant in terms of numbers, or who's got the biggest install base, or who's selling most in any particular week or month, but I'd like to think that we continue official leadership in this industry.


It's difficult to talk about Nintendo, because we don't look at their console as being a competitor. They're a different world, and we operate in our world - that's the kind of way I look at things.

How about the fact that the PS3's marketing was so fucking confusing that Sony had to repeatedly issue a clarification on what the system even was? It was marketed as a Blu-ray player, a multimedia device, and a computer, and finally they realized that they should have just stuck with games console. 

I could also bring up the "rumble is a last-gen feature" quote, but that's just too easy. 

It's not like executives in other companies haven't said stupid things, but when it comes to grandstanding in the face of humiliation, nobody does it quite like Sony. As I said earlier this week, the firm is currently acting like an aged rock star that has long since outlived his glory years, yet still snorts coke and fucks teenagers while convincing himself he's remained cool and relevant. Sony's arrogant attitude and total denial is reaching a point of farce. 

Meanwhile, mainstream press outlets label the PS3 a failure and those in charge bury their heads deeper and deeper in the dirt. What's worse is the fact that so-called fans of the PlayStation 3 continue to justify Sony's imbecility by putting their heads right down in that very same dirt. Unable to accept criticism of the company since it's a perceived slight on their favorite videogame console, they can't see just what they're doing in the long run. They see anybody with ill words for Sony as an enemy or a threat to their precious machine, unable to see that there's only one thing that will truly threaten the PS3's existence -- its own creator.

I consider myself a fan of the PlayStation 3. That's why I gladly take the opportunity to criticize Sony when it fucks things up. Anybody who loves the PS3 should be doing the same.

Sony needs to shut the fuck up and leave the PS3 alone. Cancer comes from within, not without, and right now, Sony's the biggest tumor the PlayStation brand has ever seen.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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