In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, a Sony Spokesman stated that they're mainly censoring games in fear of facing legal allegations in wake of the MeToo movement.
Sony is concerned the company could become a target of legal and social action.
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 spokeswoman said:
[Sony has] responsibility to our users as a platform holder. [It’s] so that creators can offer well-balanced content on the platform and [gaming] does not inhibit the sound growth and development [of youngsters].
They also mentioned the disappointment of many developers especially those in Japan were they're more relaxed with sexual content.
However, The Wall Street Journal also mentioned the disappointment of several game developers for this new policy, particularly in Sony’s own homeland of Japan, where sexually explicit content is more widespread in games. Not only are they concerned about the potential limitations to their creative approach during development, but they’ve also pointed out that the lack of written guidelines is proving problematic in itself.
The CEO of a small Japanese studio said:
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.
Another executive from a Japanese developer didn’t mince words on the outcome of this policy:
What they’re saying to us is basically go find a niche somewhere else.
These developers won’t have the same issues on a platform like Steam on PC, for instance, but they can’t be happy about having to censor their niche games on PlayStation consoles, particularly because that particular niche audience is far more prevalent on Sony’s PlayStation 4 than the Nintendo Switch or Microsoft’s Xbox One.
Some more excerpts from the article:
Sony officials said executives at the company have grown concerned that its global reputation could take a hit from sexually explicit content sold only in a few markets. One of their biggest concerns is software sold in the company’s home market of Japan, which traditionally has had more tolerance for near-nudity and images of young women who might appear underage.
Two factors last year combined to turn that unease into action, these Sony officials say. One was the rise of the #MeToo movement in the U.S., which pointed to the dangers of being associated with content that some might see as demeaning to women. The second was the emergence of channels on sites like YouTube and Amazon Inc.’s Twitch where gamers play in front of a camera and are watched by fans online. That means games meeting Japan’s laxer standards can get world-wide exposure.
In general, any company making a game for a platform like the PlayStation 4, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox or Nintendo Co.’s Switch signs a contract with the platform maker governing royalties and other items. That gives the platform maker the ability to block games it doesn’t like.
Nintendo said it doesn't regulate sexual content beyond requiring game makers to obtain a rating from national bodies. It said its game systems allow parents to restrict content based on the rating. Microsoft declined to comment.
Funny how Sony list Twitch as one of their fears as a media for sexual games to be exposed to a wider audience when Twitch has basically been turned into a cam girl site. Sony's just handing over the Asian gamer and developer market to PC and Nintendo.
In before all the prudes saying good on Sony and that it doesn't matter for these niche weaboo pervert pedophile games. Realize it's no longer niche games like Senran Kagura but mainstream hits like Devil May Cry V getting censored by them. If Sony are already willing to censor a game like that what's to say they won't censor Cyberpunk 2077, the next Witcher game or hell the next Grand Theft Auto game? Games like MK11 are already getting censored for sexual content cuz "the children" despite how incredibly violent they are.
What about games that have sexuality as a theme such as Catherine, Bayonetta and Skullgirls. But are still fairly serious with good plots and gameplay?
What about games like the Yakuza series that have some indulgence in sexual content are they for a niche of weeaboo perverts and deserved to be denied on Playstation if the devs refuse to take it out?