Sony, Microsoft gaming battle irks media

LOS ANGELES: Sony and Microsoft are locked in a game of PR one-upmanship over the launch of their next-generation video-game consoles, earning them the ire of many in the gaming press.

LOS ANGELES: Sony and Microsoft are locked in a game of PR one-upmanship over the launch of their next-generation video-game consoles, earning them the ire of many in the gaming press.

Sony has traditionally been the last to hold its press conference at the E3 Expo, the gaming industry's annual trade show to be held next month. This year, it has leapfrogged to the lead slot, giving it a three-hour head start on Microsoft.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft has announced it will debut its new, unnamed console on MTV four days before either press conference.

Those decisions have left some gaming outlets scrambling to cover both press conferences, as well as rethinking their Microsoft coverage.

"It's far from ideal," says GamePro senior editor Mike Weigand of the changes.

Rob Fahey, editor of GamesIndustry.biz, echoed that sentiment. "It looks like both companies have decided that the unveilings are so important that the specialist press have to take a backseat, which is foolish when you consider that the day-to-day and week-to-week coverage they'll need in the coming years will come from that sector," he said.

Despite grumblings from the gaming press, Microsoft spokesman Carlos de Leon said the company stands behind its decision and isn't afraid it will affect coverage. "E3 is an industry story," he said. "You're still going to get your stories written. We believe that, first and foremost, we should let consumers be the first ones to get the first look." He added that there would still be new information for E3.

And although Nintendo, the third major player in the video-game market, has been quiet about plans for promoting its new game console, Weigand says the company is notorious about keeping things under wraps and might be planning a surprise.

"Everyone seems to underestimate them," he says. "But I'd never count them out."

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