Games Sensitive or Cowardly?
posted by October 20 at 15:00 PMon
A distilled version from the BBC:
Copies of LittleBigPlanet are being recalled from shops worldwide after it emerged that a background music track contained two phrases from the Koran.
The music in question comes from a Grammy award-winning Somali artist and is known to have been available through online music stores for months.
In an e-mail the [Muslim] gamer who spotted the Koranic phrases warned that mixing music and words from Islam’s most holy text could be considered deeply offensive by Muslims. He suggested producing a software patch to remove the music.
Media Molecule said it did produce a patch but, following consultation with Sony, decided to go further.
“We decided to do a global recall to ensure that there was no possible way anyone may be offended by the music in the game,” said a Sony spokesman.
In June 2007, Sony apologised to the Church of England after setting scenes in a violent video game inside Manchester Cathedral. On that occasion the game was not withdrawn.
So what’s behind this story? Is Sony afraid of violent Muslim radicals? Or a boycott? (Does the Muslim world really make up that much of their sales percentage?) Or is it just a case of someone being so open-minded that his brains fell out?
And a couple lines in a song by a Grammy-winning singer is nothing compared to, say, setting violent scenes inside Mecca. (Which, at least, would be historically accurate.) So why the disproportionate response from Sony?
This recall doesn’t smell like sensitivity—it smells like fear.