As a friend of mine has just posted, Lik-Sang, a very, very popular importer of games hardware and software in the UK, has just been put out of business by Sony. For the heinous crime of actually meeting a demand that Sony themselves didn’t fill - PSP’s in Europe.
I’ve been a customer of Lik-Sang too (a trait I allegedly share with many Sony employees in Europe too, laughably), although in my case it was for DS accessories - the range you get in the UK is pathetic and there was much more variety on Japanese import. But, when I had more time I used to import games all the time on other consoles - you pay over the odds and have to deal with some hardware or language issues, but it’s a valuable service. Sony has invented all kinds of reasons why companies shouldn’t be allowed to import, and laughably claimed that its actions are looking after its customers. Bah! Balderdash. Absolute tommyrot. Not only did Lik-Sang supply all the appropriate standards-compliant converters required, but the people who import are enthusiasts - they know the risks of having a machine with a Japanese warranty card for goodness sakes. No, this is solely about Sony being a control freak and not liking what a free market economy actually means - that people will buy stuff and sell it on where there’s a profit to be made. Wow, what a revelation. Kinda makes you wonder why companies even try to region encode things and control releases per region at all, right? Oh, I remember, it’s because they suck at actually delivering product on time, thus creating the disparity of supply and demand that leads to importing in the first place - how could I forget.
I fully expect the Sony police to start breaking down doors and accusing people of not using Sony products respectfully enough. Sorry, you can’t use your PS3 unless it’s mounted on a velvet pillow. Selling a spare controller on eBay? Tsk tsk, we might have to break yer kneecaps fer that, sonny. You might think you own these things once you’ve handed over the cash, but no - Sony can dictate precisely what is done with that hardware once it’s been purchased, you can never really own it. And you’ll damn well like it too. You’ll do anything to get hold of the next hardware iteration they produce, and you’ll want Sony to treat you like dirt. Yeah, that’s it, keep forking over the cash and kissing Sony’s size 9s just like the good little paying drone you are.
Arrogance. Pure, unadulterated arrogance. I was considering buying a PS3 in addition to my first choice (the Wii), but suddenly I don’t want to anymore. Way to curry favour, Sony - I suspect the amount of damage you’re doing to your (already far from spotless) image will far outweigh any nebulous benefits you might have gotten from this action. My perception of the Sony brand is now this: “Sony, the guys that can make Microsoft look soft and fluffy”. Not good. Some people at the top of that company need a damn good reality check.