Kotaku is blackballed by Sony


Despite persistent warnings from Sony, Kotaku spoils a big Sony announcement on an anonymous insider tip. Predictably, they publicly post the blackball email and their comment section erupts with praise for Kotaku and outrage against Sony.

I’d understand the outrage if Sony tried to block negative commentary or control editorial perspective. But that didn’t happen. I’d understand praising Kotaku as some noble voice of journalism if they exposed some cover-up or scandal despite corporate pressures and manipulations. That didn’t happen either.

Kotaku merely spoiled an announcement. An announcement that may have been planned for GDC next week. That’s hardly a noble cause. Press are routinely given privileged information under various non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements to not publish until an official announcement date. That’s not evil journalistic control, that’s a common arrangement to build excitement around big events.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by bobeotm on March 1st, 2007

    Companies ask blogs to pull news all the time, for fear of spoiling announcements. Kotaku seemed to feel that it could get away with not cooperating due to the runaway train of sony FUD that has taken over the blogosphere, and well aware of the consequences, did as they pleased. Sony isnt losing anything by not having kotaku. Like Joystiq, the site is primarily Microsoft and Nintendo fan dominated, so its not a major loss.

    Personally, I dont think it was a big enough issue for either side to act the way they did. So what if Sony is Planning a Playstation Home feature? Wouldnt it be better to report on it when there are ACTUAL FACTS TO REPORT? And as for Sony, i can understand their growing anguish over the runaway train of FUD that their PR is dealing with, but this is a bit of an overreaction. This isnt to say that Kotaku has been the fairest blog in the land to sony, often inserting cheap shots into storys that dont even have to do with them. But they were far from the worst, let alone deserving of such a punishment.

    Although harsh, I think Sony is not without justification, although the rest of the blogosphere will post asserting otherwise. I just hop Kotaku doesnt pull a lik-sang and bash and blame sony (more than usual) for all their problems. They knew what the consequences were, and decided they didnt care. You cant complain about something you chose to do.

  2. #2 by ehandlr on March 1st, 2007 [ 44542 Points ]

    They never were a fair blog to begin with….very happy to stomp on the PS3 at times.

  3. #3 by bobeotm on March 1st, 2007

    I agree. I cant even count how many times they made a jab at sony products in stories that had nothing to do with sony. And they did more than their fair share at spreading FUD about both PS3 and PSP. They were one of the blogs that championed the “NO GOOD GAMES ON PSP” mantra that many still assert, even though simply looking will prove that to be FAR from true.

  4. #4 by Segitz on March 1st, 2007 [ 1470 Points ]

    Just say it straight. Kotaku blows freshmen balls…

    When I feel bored, I visit their site for amusement on how stupid they really are.

    But then again, to each his own. If they have fun with it, they shall have it. I know were to find good journalism!!

    Here!

  5. #5 by Mike on March 1st, 2007

    Kotaku, Joystiq, etc. are all garbage. I feel bad for real gaming journalists, they didn’t have to be associated with this crap a few short years ago.

  6. #6 by bobeotm on March 1st, 2007

    Well, apparently, Sony and Kotaku have made nice. Much kissing, and saying “im sorry, no. IM sorry”. So, so much for there being a big punishment for Kotaku.

  7. #7 by Darrin on March 1st, 2007 [ 17143 Points ]

    I’m glad to see some other people agree. (Thanks for the props, Segitz)

    Apparently, Sony and Kotaku made up. I guess Sony can’t afford more bad press at the moment.

  8. #8 by Mr Bill on March 1st, 2007

    Look: Kotaku recieved the info from an outside source, and didn’t sign an NDA of any sort. It would have been much easier if Sony had just pulled an M$ and said “We don’t comment on rumors.”

  9. #9 by Sporty on March 1st, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    I dont think so should care about Kotaku’s press really. They are so pro MS and Anti Sony that it doesn’t matter if the story is real or not.

    I wouldn’t care if they went after Kotaku legally for the source to file breach of NDA personally. Hell I would probably cheer them on. Ashcraft goes out of his way to cherry pick negative Sony items and avoids any retraction when 80% of his posts are BS. Flynn has an undying hatred of Sony that to even call that blog a news site is a joke.

  10. #10 by Sporty on March 1st, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    Actually after reading the Kotuku piece I dont see that they did anything typical of their own site. It actually is written as if they had integrity. They even contacted Sony and received the “no comment on rumors’ reply

    However that was written by McWhertor, so that explains the hint of journalism in the piece.

  11. #11 by mcloki on March 2nd, 2007 [ 2355 Points ]

    Um. the PR worked. Now everyone will want to know what Phil is going to say next week.Not as masterful as Steve jobs but it worked at getting free PR for his speech. Are you not going to look for details next week.

  12. #12 by Sporty on March 2nd, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    Who wasn’t going to pay attention to the GDC keynotes anyways. The PR didn’t help Sony any it helped promote Kotaku.

    However to get more to the point. Home does sound kinda cool. (assuming it’s true, but after Sony’s outrage I’m guessing it is)

    I wonder if they will patch the launch titles to include the features.

  13. #13 by Pc on March 2nd, 2007

    Kotaku is not as bad as Joystiq though !! Those fanboys and bloggers over there just get on my nerves !!! If you go to Kotaku right now, it seems as if they ended up making up with Sony, so their not blackballed anymore. I wish they were though ..

  14. #14 by Briankeith on March 2nd, 2007

    I read every single comment here and both the story here and the related stories on Kotaku. Only maybe 2 or 3 of you here seem to have even read the Kotaku story, instead you write with bias due to the fact that it’s clear Kotaku for whatever reasons doesnt favor the Sony brand (and let’s face it.. there have been a lot of legitimate bad press for Sony lately to go along with the illegitimate bad press).

    I am further disappointed this article has no author’s name posted. The writer makes an unproven assumption that this was a planned announcement of some sort. It’s a rumor. Some times they are true, some times they aren’t. Blogs tend to report on rumors. (In fact, this blog started what is a likely true rumor, but a rumor still today by saying a rumble PS3 controller will be coming out soon.)

    Sticking to your guns and publishing your piece when threaten by a multi-billion dollar entity is a source of pressure to me and pushing through and maintain the course is noble to me as well.

    I’m not saying they should get a reward or a medal, but I’ve been placed in similar situation before; on a MUCH smaller scale. So, I respect them for it. And if their readers want to praise them for it, so be it. They didn’t ask anyone to.

  15. #15 by skootie on March 2nd, 2007

    Oh come on! You can’t cry foul because of the anti-Kotaku sentiment. It’s not bias to be glad when a site that has done nothing but bad-mouth things many people use and LIKE, gets its comeuppance. Rather it is sweet, tasty payback. While we’re at it let’s act surprised that the Sony fans are angry about M$ and Ninty fans writing nasty things.

    Btw, it says in the top right corner: By Darrin

    P.S. I don’t like the word fanboy ;)

  16. #16 by PJ on March 2nd, 2007

    Huge overreaction by Sony. Another example of their bone-headed execs who can’t seem to get the PR thing down. I have never seen such an incompetent group. A simple “we do not comment on rumors” would have sufficed…

  17. #17 by Segitz on March 2nd, 2007 [ 1470 Points ]

    What do you mean by overreacting, PJ?

    I mean, Sony has a buisness to run, just like everybody else (in the buisness), and they surely dont want just anybody to talk out loud their buisness secrets.

    They provide Kotaku with means to “review” Sonys stuff (invitations, dev units, whatnot) and they want to do whatever they want? This still is buisness, so they have to obey the rules, if not they have to suffer the consequences for it.

    Sony has set specific rules (for sure, I mean, they didnt give away the dev unit just for the jist of it) and Kotaku broke those. Sony mustnt be the toothless tiger, or anybody will do as they like if they dont act accordingly.

    I say, you did right Sony.

  18. #18 by Sporty on March 2nd, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    I dont think Sony overracted. I think they shouldn’t have pulled back.

    Sites get exclusive new and products to try all the time with time restrictions on them so they don’t scoop the competition or the company itself. Sony was planning on an announcement and Kotaku did what they could to take the edge off Sony’s announcement.

    Kotaku itself has been anti-Sony for awhile. With manufacturing news items, taking pictures of systems, reporting the doom of PS3, posting anonymous developer comments about how much they hate PS3. Covering the HD DVD format war only when HD-DVD was winning and ignoring it now that Blu-Ray all but won. Cherry picking news items and taking stories out of context. Reposting old Sony comments to embarrass them. They post Sony’s comments in a way that makes them sound arrogant yet take a Peter Moor saying the same thing against Sony and phrase it as a Bitch slap with them cheering him on. 95% of all which can’t be backed up with facts.

    You take that and look at it from Sony’s point of view and it doesn’t see like a overreaction, but the straw that broke the camels back.

  19. #19 by Briankeith on March 2nd, 2007

    “now that Blu-Ray all but won”

    Just taking a mental picture of this quote by you. The stock market couldn’t predict it, experts couldn’t predict it, hell the manufactures can’t predict it but.. you already know what they don’t.

  20. #20 by Darrin on March 2nd, 2007 [ 17143 Points ]

    It’s clear who wears the pants in that relationship. Kotaku may be a biased and unreasonable rumor site, but they have a large user base. In the blogosphere PR game, that’s power.

    Sony needs to:

    - Zip their internal leaks. Someone leaked that story from the inside. Kotaku was merely the carrier pigeon that publicized it.

    - Keep their cool. If a media outlet is untrustworthy, quietly cut off their access to sensitive information. Don’t throw a tantrum and send them angry emails, be cordial about it. Then quietly cultivate other more desirable media relationships.

  21. #21 by Sporty on March 2nd, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    “you already know what they don’t.”

    If you been following the sales and trends then just about everyone knows. Only people on this planet that think HD-DVD can still pull it out are HD-DVD customers. Blu-Rays sales lead is widening every week, it’s base is growing a lot faster and HD-DVD’s release lists have been reduced to catalog trickles while BD is getting nearly 2-5x the content released compared to HD-DVDs releases each week.

    Just for comparison.

    In the next few months HD-DVD is getting 27 (13 exclusive) releases while Blu-Ray is getting 45 (30 exclusive)

    But this tread isn’t about the format war. My comment was mearly about Kotaku cherry picking which news to carry and always choose news that was negative to Sony. Another example is they will cover Sony exploding batteries and root kit even know they aren’t game related and have nothing to do with SCE. But they wont cover MS’s slow vista sales, zero day hacks, multiple lawsuits or on going class action trials or Baystar scandal.

  22. #22 by Pc on March 2nd, 2007

    Sporty, your right about all of that stuff !! I cheer you on from the comfort of my computer chair :) I to realize that Kotaku and Joystiq are completely biased, always posting positive things about Nintendo or Microsoft, then quickly posting anything that’s negative about Sony. It pisses me off, but i guess somebody has to talk bad about them because their console is so much better than everybody elses, plus they have been the console king since 1996 or so.

  23. #23 by briankeith on March 3rd, 2007

    I agree with your numbers but you could have easily reserved them and they would have been true in the past for HD-dvd and blu-ray. I believe the true future format is disc-less. But time will tell.

    Kotaku is focused primarely on gaming but they like to talk about a lot of things tech related, even things losely tech related like shoes.

    Example 1: http://kotaku.com/gaming/transformers/nike–reebok-brings-tf-kicks-240547.php
    Eample 2: http://kotaku.com/gaming/tron/reebok-does-tron-kicks-right-240488.php

    No, they didn’t cover Vista’s slow sales because.. frankly.. besides shareholders.. who cares? Do you care? But they do cover things Vista related when it effects people like you and I;

    Example:
    http://kotaku.com/gaming/windows/vista-hosing-pc-games-236028.php

    “reporting that many popular PC gaming titles are showing incompatibility
    issues with Microsoft’s new Windows Vista operating system. From drops in frame rate to graphical glitches in games like FEAR and Half-Life 2″

    The zero day hacks are turning out to be hoax, which they will probably say something about because hoax are funny and they like to report funny stuff.

    “multiple lawsuits or on going class action trials” oh you mean like the thing that’s been all over the blogsphere regarding the mp3 patent? The thing that has nothing to do with gaming like Sony’s exploding batteries? Well.. if you meant something like this.. sorry to disappoint, they have reported on this as well;

    Link: http://kotaku.com/gaming/legal/lucent-sues-microsoft-over-360-165243.php
    Link 2: http://kotaku.com/gaming/xbox-360/msoft-pays-15b-faces-xbox-suit-239165.php

    As far as the “Baystar scandal” you speak of.. I never even heard of it. In fact when I searched google news for it.. it came up with 4 news items. Seems not only is Kotaku missing the big scoop, well.. just about everyone is.

    Link: http://news.google.com/news?q=baystar&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=N&tab=wn

    Now whether you want to believe it or not.. the truth is Kotaku has been giving Sony a rough time.. But so has everyone else but pro sony sites and a few rouge other sites! Now a good question is why this is? It’s gotta be something new because last gen, everyone loved Sony. Even the gen before that. Let’s see.. what mistakes could Sony have made over the last 2 years that could prompt such a public cry from so many sources, in such a way.. that almost every blog/new source seems to be biased towards them.. Hmm…

    Now go on.. call me biased. You know you want to.

  24. #24 by Sporty on March 3rd, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    I’m not saying they don’t cover any negative MS or Nintendo news. I’m just saying they sugar coat, act as apologist and editorialize for them more often then not. But on Sony negative news they will be cheerleaders to the bashing even on rumors or stories that came from forum threads and anonymous posts. As if they are dying to get another negative story just to hate Sony with.

    Baystar you will hear a lot about in the summer once the trial resumes, or maybe not since for the most part its been under the radar. But long story short MS funneled $60 million to SCO through Baystar to fight Linux with FUD (which btw term FUD came from that lawsuit Fear Uncertainty Doubt) and false patent lawsuits that have since fallen apart. Having SCO threaten Linux users with huge licensing fees and suing Linux business users. A few sites still have the court transcripts up where the MS/Baystar was brought to light through bank records. The judge in the case has put the trial on hold till Novell trial is complete.

    The main reason most people hate Sony now in my opinion is the price tag of the PS3. If they weren’t so childish they would just ignore it. As was said in another thread. The Jews don’t complain as much about the Nazi’s as MS fans do about Sony.

    However. You already agreed that Kataku is bias to an extent so why would I call you bias? I don’t care if a site calls Sony out on something they did. But to cherry pick and editorialize is something different. I personally care less about politics then I do about gaming. What I can’t stand is bashing everything one company does and discounting anything good just because of your views on that company. My whole point is they don’t cover the news fairly and to an extent can’t be totally trusted.

    Your right it’s not just Kotaku. But they are one of the worst. Along with 1up joystiq and destructiod. Gaming news sites in general lack integrity. I would prefer not to know if someone favors or hates a system just by reading their news posts.

  25. #25 by briankeith on March 4th, 2007

    You mean like how this site favors the sony brand?
    Btw, I love the fact that we can actually have a conversation instead of bickering. ^^;;
    BTW, this site does a fairly good job of telling it like it is, while still being really pro Sony. That is very hard to do, and I like that it has it’s opinions but still manages to tell the news. I love this place.

  26. #26 by Sporty on March 4th, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    Exactly. I find it harder and harder to get gamming news that’s only news lately. I mainly only go here, gameindusty and magic box anymore.

    I hate how most pro Whatever sites are Negative the opposite. Here they have little bashing except in some comments. I own all three systems now but don’t like to be told my PS3 was a waste of money by a hater since I’ve done my research and know how many games I want are in the pipeline. Don’t want to be told my 360 sucks or my Wii is a kids toy.

    My other post I didn’t mean to come off as Anti-MS. just stating that mudd is on both companies but most sites use rose colored glasses. That is what I can’t stand. If it’s not gaming I’ll get my news from another source then a gaming site.

  27. #27 by Sporty on March 4th, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    Looks like i find it harder and harder to spell gaming also :D

  28. #28 by briankeith on March 4th, 2007

    I’ve always held the opinion that a gamer doesn’t give a rats ass what system it is, as long as it’s a good game. They may prefer one system over another for various reasons (i prefer the 360 because of my friends list and the controller) but, that will never stop them from gaming where ever the good games are (I am in love with FF12 and can’t wait for metal gear and God of war 2!!!!).


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