Sony vs. Kotaku

News about games journalism! Hooray!

The whole thing seems to be over now, but last night gaming blog Kotaku got into trouble with Sony for posting a rumour about what Sony was set to unveil at next week’s GDC. Sony told them not to, they did anyway, and Sony blacklisted them from all their mailing lists and future press events.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I was entirely on Kotaku’s side on this issue. As is often the case lately, I don’t know why Sony acted the way that they did. All throwing the toys out of the pram and trying to blackmail Kotaku did was give credibility to the story, whereas the usual “we do not comment on rumours or speculation” would have at least kept people guessing until next week. The way Sony acted the only possible outcome was for Kotaku to come out smelling of roses, simply because when it’s announced everyone sees that they got the scoop and didn’t give in when the big boys tried to bully them.

Of course, the majority of people supported Kotaku’s stand, but what surprised me when trawling forums was that a number of people were congratulating Sony on not putting up with such insolence, even going as far as to criticise Kotaku’s journalism, such as in this quote from IGN’s PS3 forum:

“Sounds like Kotaku got what they deserve. […] Seriously. Did these guys take any journalism courses at all?”

That sums up what far too many journalists reporting on this industry seem to think: that “journalism” means “typing up press releases” and taking what they’re given, which is often the complete opposite of what journalism should be. I’m not going to make myself look stupid by invoking some of the great investigative journalists because I have no illusions of reporting on this industry being comparable to anything what has been brought to light by political journalists in the past, but being cowed by any of the big industry figures is not journalism.

Bravo Kotaku. Now I hope you walk into that media event next week with a massive, proud grin on your face. You won that round.

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