SONY has banned developers from including ‘sexual’ content in any games slated for release on PlayStation consoles, according to a report.
The Wall Street Journal claims Sony says its new guidelines are a response to both the rise of the #MeToo movement and the rise in popularity of YouTube and Twitch for gaming videos.
Team Ninja Features seen as problematic in the West are often seen differently by Japanese developers
Sony says the changes are meant to make sure games do not “inhibit the sound growth and development” of young people, the report says.
The PlayStation firm wouldn’t reveal exactly what the guidelines were, or when they were formally introduced.
Previously Sony, like Microsoft and Nintendo, generally left decisions on acceptable content to local ratings bodies such as the UK’s BBFC.
“We don’t have criteria in written guidelines or that sort of thing because the policy was introduced kind of suddenly in the wake of the #MeToo movement,” a Sony representative told the WSJ.
The changes will affect all PlayStation games wherever the developer is based and irrespective of the country they want to release the game in.
This means that games which Sony has previously blocked from official European and American release but allowed in Japan, such as schoolgirl-fondling dungeon-crawler Omega Labyrinth Z, will be banned entirely.
Japan-only games are often available to buy and ship to the UK, although generally not in English
It is affecting some mainstream games too — the developers of Dead or Alive 6 confirmed they had specifically toned down the latest version of the fighting game.
“You have to make sure long-time fans still enjoy the game, but we try to balance that with the current view of the world — but fans still come first” the game’s director and producer, Yohei Shimbori told Sun Online.
The change comes because “Sony is concerned the company could become a target of legal and social action,” according to the same Sony rep.
This risk is heightened because of the rise of YouTube and game-streaming service Twitch, which can bring games to the attention of international audiences even when they are only released in one region.
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In Japan games including extremely suggestive content and characters who may appear to be underage are very popular and have been commonplace for years.
Sexual content in and around games is hardly hard to come by outside of Japan either, though, with everything from Fortnite porn films to VR sex games available.
PC platform Steam has had its own struggles with adult content recently too, with it allowing cartoony sex games and coming under fire for hosting pages relating to sick game called Rape Day before eventually banning it.
Elsewhere in gaming a new Xbox has been revealed, Sony has announced the first details about the PlayStation 5, and a trailer and first look at Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has emerged.
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