A Sony Interactive Entertainment spokesperson has denied recent reports that the company has a censorship policy for its PlayStation 4 releases.
“A Sony spokeswoman confirmed the company has established its own guidelines “so that creators can offer well- balanced content on the platform” and gaming “does not inhibit the sound growth and development” of young people. She declined to say when these guidelines were introduced or to discuss them in detail.”
However, Japanese publication Game*Spark spoke to another Sony spokesman who has contradicted that reporting. The spokesman noted that “new rules have not been introduced.” But they did indicate that certain games can be reviewed on a case by case basis and that they are “respecting the ideas of creators.”
Paraphrasing the translation of the spokesman they said:
“Sony, though rare, has a policy of having executive officers comb through content that may be considered offensive and unsafe on a case by case basis. This is so players can enjoy games while at the same time respecting the ideas of creators.”
Game*Spark notes that Sony has instituted a parental control feature that allows parents to keep their children from accessing mature content. This type of feature is also seen on Xbox One as well as the Nintendo Switch.
They go on to detail that an executive officer at Sony would be making the calls on censorship. Paraphrasing, the spokesman stated:
“Not all games will be scrutinized to this degree. This is due to the existing CERO standards and no standardized guidelines, but if the game is excessively sexual, then they will look toward their global standard that will have an executive review the content in question. Which is generally reserved for strict sexual content”.
They also talked about the importance of working to keep an eye on: “global trends in order to keep the PlayStation console system a fun place for the best gamers.”
It’s unclear what this “global standard” is and given the statements from the Sony spokesman it appears it can be interpreted at whim by each individual executive who reviews games that are flagged for sexual content.
Independent journalist Nick Monroe indicates that two employees at Sony are refusing to write out specific guidelines for their “global standard policy” because “it might trigger someone and be a micro-aggression.”
RUMOR: Sony’s censorship got as bad as it is now because “a pair of SJWs are now part of [Sony’s] standards and practices office.”
THEY WON’T WRITE OUT GUIDELINES because it “might trigger someone” and be a “micro-aggression.”
Leaving GAME DEVELOPERS in the dark.
— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) April 24, 2019
Senior staff writer for Nichegamer as well as a contributor to OneAngryGamer Sophia Narwitz noted she had heard similar rumblings.
This matches something I was told in private awhile back. Though I was unable to independently verify given I wasn’t told much. However, all recent actions by Sony suggests it’s true, that & Nick is now putting such ideas forward, and often knows exactly what he is talking about https://t.co/WbUL0sJ6sk
— Sophia Narwitz (@SophNar0747) April 24, 2019
Sony’s new censorship enforcement has already claimed at least one victim. OneAngryGamer reports Senran Kagura’s Kenichiro Takaki left Marvelous “due to the censorship policies and restrictions on sexual content.”
Now that we know such policies aren’t set in stone but are left at the whim of whoever you might be dealing with, it’s understandable why both developers and gamers are concerned.
What do you make of this new revelation concerning Sony’s censorship policies?