I know you’re only eight years old and you have so much to learn about the ways of the world, but I have news for you. The world has already reached out and touched someone and that “someone” is you. Remember just a few months ago on Christmas day when you were so excited to get your own portable game player. Yes, it was a Nintendo. A well-known brand name. That’s how you know you’re loved in this day and age when you get the good player.
Not only was it Nintendo, it was a DS. DS stands for dual screen. But there’s even more. It was not just a Nintendo DS. It was a DSi where the “i” stands for internet. That’s right son, you’re only eight but we want you out there on the internet discovering all the great things the world has for an eight year old on the internet. That’s how you know you’re loved. You get the internet for Christmas and you’re only eight.
I have some really bad news for you today son. You know how I told you that because you live in America that you have rights and those rights are protected under the Constitution. Well, not anymore. At least not if you’re going to keep that internet we gave you for Christmas. Actually I know we haven’t connected your DSi to the “i” just yet, but you know we’re great parents and as soon as your friends have their eye on the “i” that you’ll have an “i” of your very own. Then you’ll be able to connect with other gamers all across the globe. It’s amazing… we know. It’s America.
Back to that bad news thing I was telling you about. You know those rights; the right to protect yourself and the right to bring others to justice who may try to trample over your rights whether they are an individual or a corporate individual (thanks to Citizens United v. FEC)? Well, we’re going to have to give those up if you’re going to really be a good gamer and we all know how important that is.
You see son, there’s a problem with the network and the network effect and peer-to-peer in general. It has created great things like Wikipedia (you’ll need that in 5th grade for your book report) and Linux and Apache Server (it’s the “A” in the “i”), but it’s causing big problems for the corporate strawman. You see all those peer-to-peer connections established on the network are helping people to organize themselves and sometimes they’re organizing against the very corporations that brought them together. It’s like little network Norma Rae’s are popping up all over the place and they’re complaining and this time it’s not about brown lung disease.
It may be that they’re complaining about putting in real cash to buy virtual goods only to have their network shut down with no warning and no refunds. It may be because their privacy was invaded and their mobile cell phone number was sold without their consent or the privacy settings are so complicated that you would have to work at Facebook to understand how to set them. People are complaining about all kinds of things and they’re doing more than complaining, they’re filing actual lawsuits against the very companies that brought them together. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
So son, your Mom and I talked it over and we decided that you should give up your rights to sue. We realize you haven’t even used the “i” in your DSi and that it’s a Nintendo product and that the virtual hub bub is about Sony Playstation Network and not even about DSi, but it will be eventually. You see once Sony is successful in getting its network users to acquiesce their rights over to the Digital Disneyreich then it’s only a matter of time before Nintendo will follow suit. It’s the only way to maximize shareholder value. We know you’ll understand… someday. You just need to spend a few thousand hours doing World of Warcraft and Farmville and by then you’ll appreciate the real value that it brings to your life. Hey, isn’t the average gamer thirty-five years old? Look at the great future you have ahead of you.
We just wanted you to know that we didn’t take handing over your rights lightly. It’s a gradual thing. First there was that pat down at the airport that you asked me and your mom about, then there was that random traffic stop where you thought we were in trouble. I know, I know, you didn’t understand why our car zooms through E-Z Pass while other people wait in line or why we slam on the brakes everytime the street lights turn yellow downtown where the red light cameras dole out the automatic traffic violations. Well never forget the first time you asked how Netflix knew to bring up your favorite old Speed Racer selections. Behavioral economics isn’t easy to explain to an eight year old, but we tried.
When we think about all the great conveniences you have in your life, just giving up our privacy and rights in exchange for the comfort of knowing we’re being watched is a small price to pay. We can only imagine the embarassment you would be faced with if your friends found out that you were banished from the Sony Playstation Network because your parents were determined to protect your civil rights. Not only would your life be less fun, we would probably be looked on by our friends and neighbors as odd, or worse, out-of-date on our technology.
Son, we know how much you love to make believe. You make up stories in your mind and you share them with us. You go around the house play acting and making up your own games and ideas in your head. It’s cute and we love you for it, but don’t forget. Sony needs to make money too. Their slogan is so much like your favorite passtime. You love to make believe. Sony’s slogan is make. believe. You see, what Sony believes is that if anyone is going to be in the business of making things people can believe in, it’s Sony. They are the belief makers. Not you. Your beliefs don’t make money, and you don’t have your own corporate counsel, so your beliefs… well, they just don’t count. At least not for Wall Street.
You see, son… Wall Street does the counting. They count the money and they’re counting on you. They’re counting on you to sign the new terms of service for the Playstation Network. They’re counting on you to sign that credit card agreement and that cell phone contract and even a mortgage someday. They’re counting on you to believe – period. Believe in them. Believe in spending your entire life sitting on a couch clicking on a keyboard filled with angry birds. If you let them down, then who’s going to “make. believe?” We know make believe is your favorite thing to do, but how are we ever going to explain it to the neighbors? Your ability to make believe on your own is putting your parents in a very difficult position. What exactly do you expect us to get you for Christmas next year?
(here’s a link to the BBC’s story on the Sony Playstation Network: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14948701)
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