Official Anti-PlayStation Magazine?

Anyone who thinks “official” magazines are nothing but mouthpieces for console (and operating system) manufacturers should pick up the latest issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine (Issue 108, Sept. 2006). The lead article in the mags hype section is a one-and-a-half page spread on Immersion — the company that has caused nothing but headaches for Sony since winning a legal battle over rumble technology in the PlayStation controller.

Surprisingly enough, given the publication, the piece is actually a little tilted against Sony — offering plenty of flattering quotes from Immersion president Vic Vegas but no official response from Sony. The piece doesn’t even hint that they tried to get Sony’s point of view — ending with a cryptic “for now, Sony looks like it isn’t backing down.”

This comes on the heels of a recent post on Dana Jongewaard’s blog that mentioned the OPM editor-in-chief managing editor (updated based on comment. Thanks, Andrew) would buy an Xbox 360 instead of a PS3 this holiday. Forum-goers and bloggers everywhere were quick to pile on to this latest bit of evidence that the PS3 is too pricey. After all, if someone who gets paid to write about the system doesn’t want it at launch, who would.

Do these two events show that OPM staff members are harboring a secret grudge against their subject. No… they just show that the magazine’s staff is made up of humans, not zombified automatons programmed to tow the Sony party line. The magazine might have a special relationship with Sony — allowing it to get first word on some news and tote the only American PlayStation demo disc — but in the end it’s still a Ziff Davis publication whose staff is paid by Ziff Davis, not Sony. Sure, holding on to that relationship might make the writers more apt to hold their tongue on controversial issues, but things like this Immersion article and blog post show that no one is simply walking on eggshells.

The days of official magazines being thinly-veiled propaganda machines for their namesakes are over. The days of official magazines with independent, console-focused editorial with an inside track to the companies they cover is here.

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