Sony's new robot dog doubles down on DRM

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$26/month? Is this because it’s only priced in Yen right now and Japanese prices are always inflated? That’s like 3 Netflix subscriptions! What in the world are they doing with that stupid dog toy that requires such an expensive subscription service?


Wow. It’s like Sony are trying to be the evil geniuses when it comes to abusing their customers.

They certainly have form. Anybody recall this gem? (I bought one of those - the guy in the store gave me a filthy look when I returned it and demanded my money back, like I was the criminal)


…property can only be owned by transhuman, artificial life forms called limited liability corporations, and the rest of us are digital tenants.

Simple enough to fix - just incorporate yourself! You think I violated your copyrights? Send my corporation a letter. I’m sure we’ll take a look at it.

EDIT: I like this, we don’t always get such diversity of opinion:
Mark: Look a puppy!
Cory: It’s a tool of The Man.


When is Sony going to finally learn from the spectacular failures of all of their proprietary products of their past? It is amazing that they have survived.


The thing I like about this is that they are doing it wrong. They are simply wrong-minded about this, because they latch on to short-term, quantifiable business metrics instead of doing the right thing for sustainable and good business. Companies who treat their customers like the adversary/enemy instead of collaborators and resources are opening up niches for companies who don’t. Then, those companies who do that successfully go viral and flourish in a manner that the old guard giants can’t match. Couple this with some solid customer-friendly terms of service and Ulysses Pacts to prevent benevolent companies’ souls from becoming corrupted by transfers of ownership or “financial necessity”, and I am hopeful that we’re moving toward a gold age of business/customer cooperation and prosperity.

… eeeexcept that Sony has been going full on evil-genius-customer-abuse for well over a decade now, and seem to be doing pretty great.


Is the dog like a virtual assistant and it needs to connect to the cloud to figure out what you are saying to it? That would at least give some slim rationale to the existence of a subscription fee, although $26 a month is way too much no matter how you parse it.


* Corporations themselves remain the most important form of property, and oh, yes, they do have human owners. The big innovation of this century should be a move away from the idea that any individual can own the productivity of thousands or millions of people. As for alternative models, see: creative commons, the GPL, etc. On the other hand, the story of civilization is the use of brute force to hold onto vast piles of wealth, so maybe we’ll just end up eating dogshit this century, also.

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They probably aren’t going to sell a lot of them. Say Netflix had 50,000 customers instead of millions. Their service would cost hundreds of dollars each month.

So $26 seems about right to run a service with a small number of users that are connecting over LTE. A network connection is needed because a chunk of what the dog can do depends on cloud services.

Aside from the notably skewed distribution of human ownership of corporations worth owning(which would presumably be a problem corporations or no, extremes of inequality seem to go poorly in a wide variety of legal frameworks); there is the inconvenient asymmetry in how ownership ends up forbidding and allowing things:

Sony’s desire to exercise as much of ownership as possible over robot dog firmware takes a pretty substantial bite out of the list of rights normally associated with ‘owning’ something you have purchased(and, unfortunately, basically anything with firmware is well placed to try the same thing). By contrast, owning a little bit of Sony may turn out to be profitable, if you are lucky; but unless you own enough of Sony that the board starts sweating when your number pops up on caller ID, your influence is pretty much homeopathic.

Owning a chunk of the firmware is good for indefinite hegemony, owning a chunk of the company is good for the occasional prospectus in the mail.

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It’s a demodog…we are all going to die a horrible death via its drm laser eyes and it will feast on our bones…or maybe it will just be a niche product in japan and we’ll all survive.

tune in next week to find out

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Are you saying that if we appease it with minidisks it might spare the western hemisphere?


Well, at least if it goes all skynet on us we can just let the $26 subscription expire.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if DRM is what stops the AIs from taking over? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: See, now that is a book…



Click on the ‘max’ button to show their stock price since the 70s. They are now a quarter the price that they were in 2000.

In the 80’s and 90’s Sony was riding high with the successor the Walkman: all of their products were good, but that was their flagship. Then they came out with the Minidisc, which should have been their iPod.

Instead, the entertainment division of Sony forced the electronics division to add DRM to it, so it couldn’t be used to copy songs from CDs. The Minidisc went nowhere.

Now look at AAPL. In Nov 2001, with stock at a buck and change, they introduced the iPod (no wireless, less space than a Nomad, lame!). People started copying their CDs to their music player. AAPL closed today around $166.

Sony could have been Apple, if they hadn’t had DRM.


I liked @frauenfelder’s writeup better.

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To be fair, it already is a silly, crazy-expensive toy. What’s a few more bucks?

Personally, however, you’d have to beat me with a stick to get me to take one, and then I’d just disassemble it for the servos and whatnot inside ^^’…

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I’d ask why anyone would buy anything from Sony considering how horrible they are in general, but then I realize that Trump is still President and that people are still kinda stupid.

Sony is the worst for this type of thing. They lose interest in something incredibly quickly and then no longer care about the customers that spent money on it. I bought a Sony hifi 2 years ago and received an email last month stating that it will no longer be supported by its controller app. The app is the only way to access half of the settings and pretty much renders my $500 hifi a useless brick. When I complained I was told my only options were to buy a new one or never upgrade my phone

I was always interested in the Aibo robot, and was disappointed when they discontinued it. I might’ve even considered buying this new one, now that I’m a bit better off than I was in Aibo’s original run. In light of the DRM deal Sony is offering, however, Sony can take their garbage and shove it. When I pay for something, it’s mine.

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