Sony has launched an internal inquiry following an event in Athens last month that featured a decapitated goat and topless models to promote its new game 'God of War II'.
The event was held last month but has come to light now because photos of it are being published in the June issue of the "Official PlayStation Magazine" in the U.K. The Daily Mail newspaper published one of the photos on its website on Sunday, featuring a scantily clad woman and a man dressed as a cave man standing over the dead goat.
Sony in the UK acknowledged that "an element of the event was of an unsuitable nature" but played down its gruesomeness. The goat was supplied by a butcher and the event, organised by a Greek production company, was intended to be based on Greek mythology, the company said in a statement.
Guests were not "invited to reach inside the goat's still-warm carcass to eat offal from its stomach”, as the Mail had reported, the company said. Rather, they were offered bowls of food intended to represent the goat's intestines, it said.
The controversy is unlikely to win Sony much favour from those opposed to violent video games, although some gamers seemed bored by the brouhaha.
"Anyway, the game is really good”, one reader from Sweden wrote on the Daily Mail's website.
"At the end of the day, we eat meat every day of our lives, why don't we complain about that?" added a reader named Tom from England. "You can bet money on it some of them are slaughtered in inhuman ways anyway."
Kostas Farkonas, a freelance journalist who covers the gaming industry in Greece, said he did not attend the "God of War II" but had heard about it.
"It was a bit extreme, sure," Farkonas said. "But in all the years of covering gaming, we've seen worse."