At the end of September last year, ElectricSistaHood published a post asking the big question of the day: Will the PS3 cause Sony to go broke? The story was a massive hit.
More than 55,000 people read the story the first day. That's more people than read a front page story of many mid-market daily newspapers. Since publishing the story, it's received 87,595 page views through yesterday.
Last week the story started getting attention from a new source: the forums at eu.playstation.com, the European Playstation site. Then, suddenly, the attention stopped. After a little investigation, we discovered the horrid truth: The Sony fanboys are censoring themselves!Before I continue, a few caveats are in order. First, the folks at ElectricSistaHood aren't Microsoft fanboys. I personally own five machines with Apple computers inside (three Powerbooks, an Intel iMac and an AppleTV). We have two iPhones. We're not Microsoft haters, either. We have one Vista laptop, but we didn't have to pay for that. We own a couple of copies of Microsoft Office for the Mac. We own a copy of Windows XP that we run on the Mac in Parallels. We own an Xbox and an Xbox 360 -- and the 360 recently spent about a month or so in the shop. We have a Nintendo Wii with four controllers and a DS Lite.
And we own our good share of Sony stuff -- a couple of PS2's, a 20-gig PS3 and a PSP. The only trouble we've had with any of them is that the first PS2 had difficulty playing some CD's when it was standing on its side. We use the PS3 mostly for its Blu-Ray movie-playing capability, but we find it a good, solid platform for playing games.
When I wrote the story last September about Sony going broke, it was well researched and fully documented. And I wasn't the only one having severe questions about the company. The very same day I wrote about Sony, the Wall Street Journal published a similar article.
In the story, I posited that under the circumstances, if the stars fell into a certain alignment, there could be the possibility that (a) Sony could find itself in a position to ditch the gaming division and (b) Microsoft could find itself in a position to purchase the Sony gaming division. It's not an impossible notion. Who would have thought a few years ago that Daimler would suddenly toss Chrysler into the dust bin?
Besides, at the time ElectricSistaHood was barely attracting 300 people a day to the site.
How did a little blog like ElectricSistaHood get such a big response? We were Slashdotted. If you're unaware of what that means, we were mentioned in a blog post on the website Slashdot.org. In addition, we were Dugg -- mentioned in a post on the website digg.com.
As a result of those two mentions, blogs and websites all over the world found out about the story and linked to our post. That post single-handedly put ElectricSistaHood on the map. Today we attract more than 60,000 unique visitors a month and we're aiming for 100,000 by the end of the year.
My story got kudos from some and flames from others. My head didn't swell from the kudos and I didn't cry myself to sleep from the flames. I just liked being able to get so many people involved in that important topic.
Since September, interest in the story has continued. We generally get a few dozen pageviews of the story every day, and people still comment on occasion -- usually with harsh opinions on one side or another.
Then on Friday, the page got hit with a few hundred readers. Comments heavily weighed toward Sony's side of things. What had suddenly made people so excited about a story that was written almost a year ago?
To find the answer to that question, I searched through the server logs of electricsistahood.com and discovered hundreds of people coming to the site from a forum at eu.playstation.com -- the European Playstation website. I tried clicking into the page from which they came, but the page -- http://community.eu.playstation.com/showthread.php?t=124977 (Click here to try it yourself) -- was no longer there.
Someone had removed the page. Was Sony censoring its fanboys? What could they have been saying on the forum?
I did some more digging. I knew that the words "Sony" and "broke" would have to be on the page, so I did a Google search on "site:eu.playstation.com" and "sony" and "broke". The search found the pages, but clicking on them resulted in the same error page -- the comments were simply gone.
Of course, the nice part about looking up stuff on Google is that it also caches the pages as it crawls them. All the original forum pages were still there and available by clicking the "Cached" link on Google.
So I read through the postings. It was the usual mix of Sony fanboys and Microsoft fanboys trading shots with each other. There wasn't anything controversial there. Nobody threatened to do bodily harm to anyone. No reason for Sony to pull down the pages.
Then, near the end of the posts, the Sony fanboys started getting cold feet about the whole thing. There just weren't very many people coming to the defense of the topic, which was called "Microsoft to buy Sony? ha".
About a day after making his first post on the topic at the eu.playstation.com forums, MPower wrote, "Ok, I only posted this to show how absurd the article was. So if anyone thinks I took it seriously hence the 'has anyone got a gun' [comment]. Anyway, this topic is really irrelevant and ANOTHER bloody flamewar is starting so lets move on shall we ladies and gents?"
The next poster, Rider2006, agreed, writing, "This thread should be deleted as it's off topic." After a couple of more posts, the topic was deleted from the website in the early hours today (Sunday, Aug. 12).
I think this is what happened:
MPower learned of a story proclaiming the possibility that Microsoft was going to grab Sony's gaming division. He saw that the story was on a girl-gaming website, which he must have thought was particularly funny. He probably thought, what could girls possibly know about gaming?
After a few congratulatory posts from his Sony fanboy friends, others started making disturbing comments about the realities of PS3 sales vs. the sales of the 360 and the Wii. Then the discussion degenerated into unrelated asides about sales of Sony TVs and Walkmans.
I think the Sony fanboys started realizing that it wasn't the year 2003 anymore. The Playstation 3 is not the PS2. There aren't any substantial games for it yet, and with the absence of Grand Theft Auto IV this Christmas, it will be mid-2008 before a marquee game arrives for the platform. Even then, they will have to share the stage with Microsoft, which will have the game for the Xbox 360 at the same time.
The discussion got irrelevant all right. But it was the Sony fanboys who made the discussion irrelevant. Nintendo sells every Wii it makes and PS3 boxes are stacked to the rafters at Best Buy -- even after a $100 price break. There's no defense to that little argument, and the Sony fanboys know it.
That's why they halted the discussion and made it unavailable for anyone else to read it. They simply couldn't face the truth anymore.
Want to read the posts the Sony fanboys don't want you to read? Click here for a PDF version of the entire banned forum topic!
Labels: evermore, PS2, PS3, PSP, Sony, Videogames, vista, XBox-360
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