Sony stops the McDonald’s PS5 controller giveaway; fast-food chain claims there were no release plans

If you’re a gigantic international corporation and plan on giving away a customized DualSense controller as part of a promotion, it’s best to get permission from Sony. That’s the lesson learned by McDonald’s, which, after last week announcing such a giveaway, first said it was being canceled because Sony never authorized it, then claimed it never intended to advertise the controller at all—the whole thing was just an “error.”

This dumpster fire of a situation started last week when McDonald’s Australia said it would give away a limited number of special edition PS5 controllers to celebrate its 50th birthday in the country. A must-have for collectors, fans of the fast-food giant, and people with no taste, they feature the iconic red and yellow colors, Golden Arches logo, and a burger and fries.

But it seems Sony wasn’t too pleased to be associated with McDonald’s. A spokesperson for the restaurant chain wrote: “Sony PlayStation has not authorised the use of its controller in promotional materials related to the proposed Stream Week event and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. McDonald’s stream week has been postponed and Sony PlayStation controllers will not be included in the giveaway.”

That sounds like it could be the end of the story, but no. McDonald’s Australia said in another statement that the image of the controller was just an internal concept that never left the planning stage, and it certainly wasn’t supposed to be made public.

“The image was provided to media in error and there is no commercial relationship between McDonald’s Australia and Sony PlayStation,” said the company.

Sony isn’t slow to go after anyone it feels is using its IPs without permission. Last November, faceplate maker CustomizeMyPlates was forced to remove its products from sale and cancel all pre-orders following a legal threat from the Japanese company. This came after Sony had already demanded the firm change its name from PlateStation5.

Don’t expect Sony to release a McDonald’s-themed PlayStation 5 anytime soon.