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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why I hate Sony part 1: PlayStation G.A.P.

If you click on my blog's Sony tag, I bet most of the articles have me making some kind of snarky comment towards them.

Until recently I never really thought about Sony one way or the other. To me, Sony is a big electronics corporation, a household name I've always known. I think almost everybody has had a Sony product at one time or another, I can think of at least 3 that I have in my home right now. (counting my PSPs... well I guess that would be 6.)

When I bought my PSP in 2006, I wasn't very familiar with the PlayStation brand, other than occasionally having played a PS1 & PS2 at friends places. I knew that PS2 was the best-selling console, and that implied a level of quality that is consistent with Sony's overall rep.

I think my optimism turned to cautious hope, then turned to misgivings, then turned to disgust... for the PlayStation brand. I love love *LOOOOOVE* the PSP... but I cannot fathom the motivation behind the people who run the PlayStation brand. They've literally turned me against them.

Awhile back I got an invite to join the PlayStation Gamer's Advisory Panel (G.A.P.)

The first rule of G.A.P. is you don't talk about G.A.P. The second rule of G.A.P. is....

But whatever.

G.A.P. is a (Sony-sponsored) invite-only closed community, where basically people can blog about whatever they want. It should be gaming, but it doesn't have to be, and it doesn't have to be exclusively PlayStation gaming either (though it mostly is because its members were invited from the old PlayStation Underground forums)

G.A.P. members can get in on beta testing, and maybe get some free demos to try out. I made sure I had all my info filled out, I filled out their surveys when I could, I blogged, I did what I could to be a good member.

UMD demo giveaways did happen, and for months I signed up for all of the ones I knew about. They gave me confirmations:

But I never did get any of them. My address was correct. I thought it might be because I was in Canada (though the terms never excluded Canada) but other Canadian G.A.P. members, who filled out the forms later than me, *were* getting the demos.

I eventually realized that I must be on some "do not send freebies" list at PlayStation.... and there's no way to actually bring this up at G.A.P. or PlayStation. There is no contact at G.A.P.... who actually runs it? I have no idea, it's moderated but that's more a forum control than actually having to do with Sony business. And if you try to contact PlayStation support, they only want to hear if your PSP's broken.

Maybe this is just me whining. I'm not saying that Sony/PlayStation owes me free stuff. Despite my support, they are not obliged to send me freebies. Fair enough. But if I'm excluded from this stuff, why not just tell me? Why waste my time? Assholes.

But all this isn't why my ambivalence turned to hate. This is only part 1 of what I think is a 3-4 part topic. It's just indicative of the mess of a brand that PlayStation has become(? I'm not sure what it was like in the PS2 days)

It gets worse when I tried to deal with the PlayStation Store.

Oh, and you know all that kerfuffle facebook is getting about its terms of service that it had to change? Well, you pretty much have to agree to those EXACT SAME T.O.S. to join G.A.P.


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