As a nice close to the year, and an early Christmas present, Sony has taken a big dump on gamers in the departments of imports and homebrew development. Thanks Sony for making this holiday season everything I had expected from you, and so much more!
I won't even talk about the PS3 fiasco which was nothing surprising to most of us I think. What I will talk about is how Sony has managed to crap on us in an unprecedented new way that I didn't see coming at all.
News seems to trickle down to me slowly these days, probably because I'm not working for a video game retailer anymore, don't have any magazine subscriptions, and I don't scour the net in the wee hours of the night. As a result, I seem to be over a month late in finding out about the demise of Lik-Sang.com at the hands of the ever watchful and wrathful god Sony.
Others have reported on this event much sooner than I, such as Steven Mansour and a great article by Cosmo at The Hanover Collaboration. Other reactions were even less polite, with Goosezilla telling Sony what she really things about them. The official Lik-Sang announcement can be read on their site here.
It would seem that one morning Sony woke up with a particularly nasty hangover from drinking too many souls-of-gamers cocktails. It gazed upon the land of the gaming industry, and inadvertently swatted with its mightly lawsuit filled hand at the first nuisance it found. For some reason this turned out to be one of the largest import gaming etailers. Hong Kong based Lik-Sang had served the hardcore gaming community for years with hard to find items, and apparently the god Sony was not pleased.
I find it particularly amusing that prominent Sony employees were among the list of Lik-Sang customers, "and [include] Ray Maguire (Managing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Alan Duncan (UK Marketing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Chris Sorrell (Creative Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Rob Parkin (Development Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited), just to name a few," (Lik-Sang.com).
It would be difficult to gauge the effects of this aggression on Sony's part initially. Some of those effects I felt directly this morning. You see, Lik-Sang not only provided the gaming community with merchandise, but supported the community with additional donations. Homebrew devs have benefited from Lik-Sang in many ways I imagine, though I can refer to one case specifically. When DCEmu announced its Dream Coding Grang Prix 2006, one of it's major prize donors was Lik-Sang.
As some of you may know, and as I have posted just recently, I have been working on a homebrew project that would have been entered into that competition. I don't care about the prizes really, and I don't even know that our chances of winning any were very high. The point is that I was looking forward to it, and it was yet another way to bring the independent developer community together. Something Sony clearly has no interest in.
On November 27th, DCEmu announced that the Dream Coding Grand Prix 2006 has been cancelled, in part due to the death of Lik-Sang. This is a sad announcement, as I'm sure we were not the only people working on a submission for the contest. Heck, I don't even care if there are any prizes. I would be happy if there was just a contest so we can get all those people together and showcase their work. Unfortunately, unless other sponsors can be found, which hasn't happened thus far, the competition will remain cancelled.
So thanks a lot Sony. You've managed to impress me with your legal muscle flexing yet again. But don't worry, I won't abandon my project just because you've won this battle. Your personal "War on Game Terror" won't stop us. Some day your reign will come to an end.