If you haven’t heard yet, Sony apparently decided to promote their “God of War II” game with an ill-advised promotional stunt in Greece.
There are tons of arguments you can make regarding the ethics, morals, and all that of beheading a goat to advertise video games and suggesting that this and similar activities are somehow related to how far fans should be willing to go to get their hands on a Playstation 3:
The article, based on a Sony Press release, shows more vivid pictures from the event under headlines such as Topless Girls! and Flesh Eating?
It asks readers how far they would go to get hold of Sony’s next-generation console, the PlayStation 3.
“How about eating still warm intestines uncoiled from the carcass of a freshly slaughtered goat? At the party to celebrate God Of War II’s European release, members of the Press were invited to do just that . . .”
But really, the media will have a field day with that part of things, so I don’t feel I need to add to it.
No, I want to talk about how incredibly, brilliantly stupid this move was, not just for Sony, but for the entire gaming industry–players, developers, publishers, etc.
We already have a ton of trouble with people thinking violent video games somehow cause kids who are, in reality, already quite troubled on their own, to commit violent acts. We already have folks pushing all-too-hard for games to be banned or for companies to be held responsible for the acts of their players.
And it isn’t just games. What about the student who was arrested for writing an essay? Society has gone crazy. Anything that seems remotely violent or proto-violent sends it into paroxysms of paranoia now. Are we going to start arresting writers and poets for writing about violent things? If so, Stephen King and every other horror writer had better pack a bag and get ready for the inevitable.
In this climate, choosing to play off of that image of encouraging violence for a quick marketing score is beyond reprehensible. Sony’s actions won’t just impact them–they’ll impact all gamers and game companies. They’ve just handed a giant crate of live ammo to their own opponents–with a smile.
Edit: There’s further information indicating things weren’t quite as bad as even Sony’s own magazine implied. Does that excuse the thing? Hardly. Under the circumstances they should have known this kind of event would lend itself very, very easily to being blown out of proportion and to being exaggerated on–and if anything they tried to capitalize on that, judging by the “information” about the party contained in their own magazine.