Earlier this week, Sony officially confirmed that the company indeed has its own separate internal content guidelines for the PS4, which developers must strictly adhere to before their games are allowed on the console.
The news comes from an interview with the Wall Street Journal, speaking to a spokeswoman from Sony. The guidelines reportedly exist “so that creators can offer well-balanced content on the platform” that “does not inhibit the sound growth and development” of children. This is consistent with previous statements from Sony’s President regarding their crackdown on explicit content. That said, Sony did not clarify what exactly the guidelines entailed in this interview.
However, the interview did shed some light on why Japanese games seem to be frequent targets of censorship on Sony’s platforms. Supposedly, Sony is concerned that the rise of streaming may potentially expose more gamers to explicit content from Japan, where standards for fictional sexuality are more relaxed. The company believes that this, along with the #MeToo movement, could lead to legal issues or damage to their reputation should they not enforce their harsh content guidelines.
Of course, many developers are not happy with Sony’s policies, criticizing Sony’s guidelines as being “unclear”, and speaking about how costly it was to send their game for approval, only for it to be rejected unless they made minor changes. Perhaps their misgivings will eventually get Sony to change their minds moving forward, though we’ll have to wait and see.
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