Sony Implements Stronger Rules For Sexual Content In PlayStation 4 Games

Sony looking to outlaw busty anime girls on their platform.
Sony looking to outlaw busty anime girls on their platform. Marvelous

It would seem that Sony is very much interested in protecting its reputation amongst the general public.

There have been rumors before regarding Sony’s stricter implementations of restrictions on sexual content on its video game platform, the PlayStation 4. These rumors have now been proven correct, following a report from the Wall Street Journal in which Sony itself confirms that it has moved to create its own system of guidelines for sexual material appearing in its games, essentially overriding existing rating systems like the ESRB and PEGI.

The report features an unnamed Sony spokeswoman that states that this move is all by design; it is there to “offer well-balanced content” that doesn’t “inhibit the sound growth and development” of young people. Whatever your take on that may be, one thing is for certain: this move is reactionary more than actual initiative.

The report goes on to state that the new policy comes from the advent of the #MeToo movement, which has somewhat crept in to every form of entertainment and media available. While there is no one denying the adverse effects of sexual harassment and how it has no place in modern society, it seems to have given birth to a culture that would rather be hyper-conservative and somewhat overzealous to the point of censorship, all because the slightest offense can bring you down fairly quickly. The recent Devil May Cry 5 learned this the hard way, as a scene in the game featuring female character Trish’s behind was censored by a lens flare, all in order to appease one platform.

This is not the most egregious case by far. The removal of an entire mode in Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal was also met with immense backlash, and is proof of Sony’s commitment into pushing these regulations over what they would deem “problematic” content.

While from an investor’s standpoint this move is be somewhat understandable, seeing as Sony doesn’t want its reputation to be ruined, it sparked a negative reaction from some in the gaming community, mostly from other developers. One unnamed CEO went so far as to say: "You don't know what they will say until you complete the work and submit it for review. And if they are not happy, even if they allowed the same degree of sexuality a few days before, we need to take it back and ask our staff to make adjustments. That's very costly."

As of yet, Sony has not written guidelines on what it deems acceptable content that could prove to be useful for developers. This means that for the foreseeable future, expect some games to be ‘lens-flared’ for the sole purpose of pleasing the higher ups and at the cost of time, money and work of developers.

It is interesting to see what kind of future this move holds for Sony, particularly as the next generation of consoles looms ever closer. On one hand, it does protect the company’s image to the mass public, while on the other, it might drive developers away from the platform and straight to the PC, Switch and Xbox One, where they could play the same game and minus the overreaching censorship.

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