Sony has quickly pulled an advertisement for the PlayStation Vita from its European YouTube account after public outcry surrounding the sexist nature of the ad.
In the ad, a "sexy" British female voice makes an innuendo that is suggestive of masturbation, but ends up actually being about playing games on the Vita.
"I know you've already done it today, and I bet you really enjoyed yourself," says the voice on the ad. "How many times did you do it yesterday? Are you afraid you're doing it too often? In your bedroom under the blankets? Or perhaps you prefer the kitchen or the toilet? Or do you like it in the garden?"
While the ad is sexist, it seems as though Sony may also be trying to do something good. The ad ends with the revelation that the person behind the voice is also a gamer, suggesting Sony is trying to break down barriers associated with women in gaming. Clearly the best way to show young boys and men that women like to play games, too, is not, however, by presenting women as a highly sexual fantasy for teenage boys.
Despite this, perhaps the company is simply taking advantage of the fact that sex sells. Those on the other side of the fence suggest the ad really isn't sexist, but rather just sexual, with one report pointing to an Old Spice commercial that also used sex and humor, but was praised as a great advertisement while the Sony ad is being harshly criticized.
This is not the first time Sony has been criticized for being sexist in advertising its gaming products. In 2012 the company released an image depicting a women with breasts on her back and the caption "touch both sides for added enjoyment."
Microsoft released another ad in similar vein in 2010 for the Xbox 360, with the claim that "everyone is doing it." The ad also alluded to sex but ended up being about gaming.
The release of the ad comes during a spike in controversy surrounding sexism in the gaming industry. A movement called "gamergate" has sparked hot debate in the past few months, with supporters of the movement claiming they're concerned about ethics in video game journalism. The majority of commentators have, however, suggested the movement is sexist and misogynist. In fact, the movement has even sparked violent threats of rape and death toward many women who have commented on the issue.