29 December 2014

Sony and The Interview clean up.

While I would love to take credit in forcing Sony to release The Interview, I suspect the word from POTUS had a bigger impact. Despite the supposed threat from North Korean hackers of a "9/11-style attack" (whatever the hell that means) a handful of independent cinemas, Google and Microsoft all released the flick on Christmas. Last I heard, not a single American family got hit by an airplane for watching this movie on their Chromecast device.

A few meaningless thoughts to consider:
  • It is becoming increasingly clear North Korea had nothing to do with this which should be a surprise to no one. Sony has long been a honeypot for hackers and the probability that a few people in a technology barren landscape brought Sony to their knees is near zero. What is highly likely is that a disgruntled former Sony employee is behind the entire mess, especially since the whole thing started as extortion for cash.
  • The United States is likely behind North Korea being unable to connect to the internet or even wireless networks due to the hack. This sets a dangerous precedent where our nation is endorsing cyber attacks as retaliation, even in a case where the accused was never truly involved.
    • As an interesting side-note, China just recently cut off access to Google as they try to force their nation to use only Chinese-approved products. The distinction between the two acts is not as great as you might think.
  • While Sony used the excuse that no one would release their film, Google and Microsoft were more than happy to make it available to the masses. What is particularly interesting is that Sony did not release the movie on their own PlayStation streaming network.
  • The Interview took at impressive 15 million over the first four days, most of it coming from Google Play, which seems on the surface like a huge victory for streaming new films. Do not count on anyone at the Motion Picture Association to take note, however.
  • Pirates have long said that if new movies were available for streaming on day one then there would be far less piracy. Unfortunately, that statement appears false with this release and undercuts one of the arguments in favor of an earlier digital release of films.
At the end of the day, Sony is going to make their money back on a movie that probably deserved to go straight to streaming. They received a whole lot of free and sometimes even positive publicity for a hack that was likely a problem all of their own making. Not too shabby. Here's hoping that the fake North Korean hackers go after a higher quality movie next time.