Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sony Shoots Self In Other Foot

Maybe Sony could hire him for security.
Just when things seem darkest... maybe they're about to get worse. Sony's had a bad couple of weeks with the PlayStation Network problem, where they've had to shut down the service (still down after two weeks) and admit that over 77 million user accounts were compromised, and possibly credit information was taken, but they can't really be sure. Oh, hey, we're sorry that some really nasty bad guys did this to you, and we plan to offer you a whole free month of PlayStation Plus!

Now Sony has admitted that the PSN break-in isn't their only problem. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has admitted that 24.6 million accounts have been compromised, and over 12,000 credit card numbers stolen. The hits just keep on coming, don't they? Sony has admitted that this happened around the same time PSN was hacked, though why Sony didn't figure this all out until now is a damn good question.

Hey, Sony, there's an old Washington D.C. adage about PR, and it's one you should take to heart right now. It's called the Rule of Holes: When you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING.

Sony's problems just went from bad to worse. Their PR response has been inadequate, and questions keep multiplying among users and the press, which is always a good sign that your PR efforts haven't been thorough enough. It seems inevitable at this point that Sony will still be dealing with the fallout at E3, given that the FBI is now involved, Congressional hearings are being scheduled, and there seems to be no end to the bad news from Sony.

Some analysts are speculating Sony may offer a PS3 price cut sooner rather than later to help their image get on track... Too soon, I think. It might be interpreted as "we'll sell the PS3 for less because it's not secure" which is not quite the message you want to send right now.

So what should Sony be doing? A more forthright presentation replete with data and sincere apologies would be good. Especially noting exactly how Sony screwed up on its security, which shouldn't cause any danger to Sony because they've plugged that hole, right? I hope so. Explain why moving your servers to an undiscolsed location is part of the fix... this kind of implies that there was a physical breach of security, not just a hacker coming in over the data lines. What really happened? What does Sony really know about what data was accessed?

At this point I'm starting to see that Sony's gaming brand could be negatively affected. And it's not going to stop there; Microsoft and Nintendo have to be ready to state just how this won't be happening to them, and how tight their security is. Sony has the highest hurdle to climb here, though. They should think about some dramatic move to restore their reputation...

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