The controversy came from a photo of the party in this month's Official PlayStation Magazine, in which you can see what appears to be a freshly slaughtered goat and a half-naked girl sitting next to it (and some kind of barbarian guy standing behind it).
The article also made a number of other claims, significantly increasing the gross-out factor of the story. I won't bother rehashing them now, because everybody already knows them. The reason we didn't run an article about this when it was first released is that we strongly suspected that there were some major pieces of the puzzle missing that we weren't hearing. Not that Sony hasn't made a number of PR stumbles in the past, but Dailymail's synopsis of the party made it sound like an orgy of blood and gore more suitable to the Marques De Sade than a videogame launch party.
Turns out, it wasn't quite as it was portrayed. Go ahead and click the continued link to see the cold, hard facts.
This week, further details of the event have come out - and while still distasteful, it is nowhere near as bad as initial reports made it seem. Much of what has been said about this event turns out to be untrue, and I've summarized the important details here:
- The goat was already dead and was NOT slaughtered for or at the event.
- It was a small, private event with approximately 20 journalists. It was not a public event.
- Guests did NOT touch goat.
- Offal was not served from the carcass. Caterers served the journalists a traditional Greek soup that never touched the goat. IT WAS NOT FROM THE STOMACH OF THE GOAT.
- Some of the confusion came from the writer of the PSM UK article not actually attending the event.
- Sony found out about the incident prior to the Dailymail hit piece, and was already attempting to address it.
It's a shame things like this aren't more rare, but I'd like to leave you with a couple other infamous PR campaigns of bad taste:
- Gears of War graveyard launch party
- Acclaim: Ads on gravestones