Game Journalists Attacking Sony Is Embarrassing
I've been embarrassed by my fellow game journalists before. I've written articles about how we need to mature - rapidly - if we ever wish to garner any respect from other journalists. But obviously, thanks to this PSN fiasco, we've once again proven we're incapable of delivering the news in an objective fashion without alarmist opinions.
While a few of the larger sources have done just fine (most childishness at GameSpot is long since gone), others have produced scathing, poorly written, and poorly researched articles, lambasting Sony for their error. And an error it was, make no mistake; I'm just as upset as anybody and I was one of the first to call out Sony for their uncomfortable silence. But through it all, it seems nobody wants to list Sony among the victims of this ordeal, and nobody wants to pin blame on the rightful shirt: the "I'm a loser" t-shirt proudly worn by the hackers responsible. Sony has already lost a large chunk of change and given the lawsuits, they're going to lose more. They've also lost something even more valuable; a giant chunk of respect and trust.
However, it's irritating and embarrassing that only the alarmist headlines gain any traction whatsoever on the Internet, and as a direct result, that aforementioned chunk of respect and trust is far bigger than it should be. Headlines about the compromising of PSN accounts hit ridiculous traffic levels; follow-up headlines about how the card data was encrypted at the time of the hack barely registered. Headlines concerning the compromised SOE accounts flew everywhere in record time; very few sources even bothered to mention the facts; i.e., the data was from 2007, none of the exposed card data was from U.S. subscribers, and only 900 of the 12,700 exposed cards were even active.
We've got articles predicting the "end of Sony;" actual, supposed news articles from "journalists." We have estimations and "reports" that fail to deliver anything but more widespread panic. And then we have analysts offer calm, clearheaded, rational feedback on the matter, saying it's unlikely that Sony will suffer long-term ill effects. In fact, most analysts are saying that. Most industry insiders are saying that. There's no doubt that Sony got themselves into a mire of muck and...wait, I just did it myself. "Got themselves into." Who put them there? We're knowingly and willingly ignoring the criminal activity, which is of the utmost importance.
As security experts will tell you, your personal information isn't truly safe anywhere and at the end of the day, all systems can probably be safer. Hacking can and will continue to happen all over the world. It's Sony's job to be as secure as possible, of course, and it's also their job to tell us the moment things go awry, but then again, we're all forgetting another fact there, too- the forensics required in this investigation took time; Sony wasn't aware of the compromised personal info until much later. Now, that may be a little shaky but it's the lone big question I have concerning Sony's guilt. I have no doubt as to the root cause; as to where blame lies.
Common criminals assaulting innocents. That's what this comes down to. I notice I see very few articles pinning the blame on hackers. Why? It's easier to blame the visible; it's easier to blame the bank rather than the robbers who broke into the vault. After all, the bank has a responsibility to safeguard our information, and the thieves are a faceless threat. But we really can't take this too far. Once we do, we lose all sight of reality and end up with an Internet full of misleading, knee-jerk reactions loaded with adolescent ranting badly disguised as either "news" or "informed opinions." Yeah, I could write a "It's Over For Sony" headline, make up a bunch of nonsense, and subsequently get a ton of traffic. That isn't difficult.
But I must've been asleep the day they announced that game journalists don't have to follow any of the same rules as other journalists.
5/4/2011 10:22:32 AM Ben Dutka