Sony made a bit of a gaffe at the launch party for God of War II over the weekend. A dead goat, freshly slaughtered, was used to promote the game and guests invited to feast on its offal. The entire event was an orgy of debauched behaviour by all accounts. Knife throwing, half naked body-painted women, snake pits, and of course the sacrificed goat. I think someone may have misjudged this one and is now getting a severe dressing down from the boss.

goatse.JPGThe event was photographed for an upcoming issue of Official PlayStation Magazine and UK’s The Daily Mail (surprise, surprise) is kicking up a fuss, though in this case I think they’re quite right to. Sony have recalled 80,000 issues of the magazine and made the following statement;

“The Sony spokesman said the animal had not been slaughtered for the event but had been bought from a local butcher by the Greek company hired to stage the event.

What purported to be warm intestines was actually warm offal.

He said Sony’s UK office had been shocked to see the report in the official PlayStation magazine, which the company licenses to publishing house Future. Sony is this weekend recalling the entire 80,000 print run of the magazine.”

This does nothing for the industry, after the debate about violence in video games has heated up since the VT shooting (albeit erroneously) this is really the last thing we need. Add this to the fact that the PS3 is not doing as well as Sony had hoped, and SCE is making huge losses which are rumoured to be the real reason behind Ken Kutaragi’s retirement. Sony have not their image any good whatsoever. (From Kotaku.)

[UPDATE]

Kotaku have done some digging and found that alot of the story is the Daily Mail’s hyperbole, the event was two months ago, and the ‘offal’ was a traditional Greek soup which was served from a bowl behind the goat and not from inside the goat at all. Sony’s director of corporate communications, Nick Sharples, in a statement to Kotaku said:

“The article in UK Official PlayStation Magazine (OPSM), from which the Mail on Sunday article was sourced, was written by a journalist who did not attend and done on the basis of the invitation for the event, which employed a degree of hyperbole in order to encourage attendance – the journalist chose to take it as fact!

The photograph was one of many supplied to the magazine to provide a balanced view of the event. Unfortunately, the article was sensationalised and focused on a picture that was unrepresentative of the wider event. When we saw the article for the first time on Thursday of last week we contacted the Publisher of OPSM who accepted that the article was not appropriate for their broad audience. On Friday, before we had received
any contact from the media, they agreed to remove the centre page article before the magazine goes on general sale.

The event was a theatrical dramatisation with a Greek mythological theme and, as part of the set dressing, a dead goat was sourced by the production company from a local butcher. Following the mainstream popularity of shows such as ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of here’ a series of challenges were set for the journalists. The ‘warm entrails’ referred to in the invitation and in the Mail on Sunday article was actually a meat soup, made to a traditional Greek recipe and served to attendees in china bowls direct from the caterers. There was never any question of journalists being able to touch the goat, or indeed eat the soup direct from the body of the goat, as one report has alleged. The goat was returned to the butcher at the end of the event.

We recognise that the use of a dead goat was in poor taste and fell below the high standards of conduct we set ourselves. We are conducting an enquiry to establish the circumstances behind the event in order to ensure this does not happen again. We also apologise to anyone offended by the article in the OPSM (subscription copies were sent out ahead of street date).”

It still doesn’t change the fact that this was a misguided publicity stunt, I’m sure it would have been quite easy to mock up a dead goat, instead of using a real one.

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