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Sony's Stricter Sexual Content Rules Could Be An Issue For Developers

Dead or Alive Xtreme Scarlet 3 Cover

The PlayStation brand is enforcing stricter content guidelines in relation to nudity and sexual content in their games, which is a reaction to international responses to the depiction of women in video games.

The PlayStation 4 is the current leader in the video game console market and Sony has often allowed games with sexual content to appear on the system without censorship, but only in certain regions. There are games such as Grand Theft Auto V and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that featured both male and female nudity, which were not censored on the PlayStation 4 in the west, but were censored in Japan.

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It has been confirmed that Sony is using stricter content guidelines than before, as the Wall Street Journal is reporting (via Kotaku) that there will be harsher restrictions placed on the depiction of nudity in video games that appear on the PlayStation 4 platform. The reason given for bringing in stricter rules is due to a growing international response to material that can be considered sexist, as well as the rise of streaming platforms making it easier for games with explicit content that were made for the Japanese region to be shown across the world. There is a concern from Sony executives about the damage that these kinds of games can do to their reputation, with the #MeToo movement cited as one of the reasons for their concern.

Dead or Alive Xtreme Scarlet 3 Helena

The stricter content guidelines are limited to Sony, as Nintendo is fine with using the standard rating body in each region to determine what kind of content they will allow in their games. Sony's latest shift in content guidelines is the opposite of Nintendo's current approach, as the Switch now has games that are less censored than their PlayStation 4 ports. A recent example of this is Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Scarlet, which doesn't feature any explicit content, yet the PlayStation 4 version of the game had content removed that is present in the Switch version of the game. Devil May Cry 5 had a brief shot of a woman's backside censored in the international PlayStation 4 version of the game, while Nintendo only pulls games off the eShop when they almost show full nudity.

It makes sense for Sony to be concerned about the reaction to the sexualized depiction of women in video games, but they also run the risk of alienating third-party developers that might grow frustrated with the extra work that goes into developing for the PlayStation 4. There have already been instances of games being delayed on the PlayStation 4 due to censorship reasons, such as Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal being pushed back in order to remove content from the PlayStation 4 version of the game. If Sony is not careful, then they might find themselves in the same situation as Nintendo did when most of their third-party developers jumped ship to the original PlayStation.

Next: PSN Name Changes Are Finally Coming Later Today

Source: Wall Street Journal (via Kotaku)

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