Sony explains its new policy regarding sexual content in games
April 17, 20192 min read
Sony has a problem with sexual content on the PS4. While that was mere speculation for the last year or so (despitenumerousstoriessayingotherwise), a recent report from the Wall Street Journal has outright confirmed the policy shift from the platform holder. In an interview with the publication, a Sony US official said, "Sony is concerned the company could become a target of legal and social action," hence the shift on sexual content.
As detailed in the report, a lot of this new policy is a reaction to the #MeToo movement. Executives at Sony are worried about the reputation of the platform if it continues to host content that sexually objectifies women. As well as social movements, Sony is concerned over the advent of streaming services allowing region-specific content to be viewed on a global scale. Since some standards only apply to certain countries, Sony doesn't want to be seen hosting a game in the US that's hyper-sexually charged.
This has obviously angered some game developers. As one unnamed CEO told the Wall Street Journal, "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."
This wouldn't be so much of a problem if Sony had written guidelines on what it deemed acceptable content. The company doesn't yet offer the convenience "because the policy was introduced kind of suddenly in the wake of the #MeToo movement," according to the Sony representative.
That's the reason this policy shift comes off as so sudden and abrupt -- because it is. Sony's trying to figure everything out on the fly, and developers are left to cope in whatever ways they can.