Former Blizzard developer, Mark Kern, has criticized Sony’s US arm for imposing its censorship standards on Japan, and causing “moral panic” among developers. In a series of tweets spotted by DualShockers, the World of Warcraft and Diablo 2 producer cautioned against mass hysteria.
There is a new wave of puritanism hitting games. Sony USA is dictating what Sony Japan’s standards are for censorship. The US has a long history of moral panics (prohibition, anyone?) We’re caught in another one. It will swing back once again, but it’s ridiculous now.
I do find it disturbing that the US is imposing their current moral panic on other countries and cultures, and foreign game developers. The US being world police on morality is what I call “cultural oppression.” Might as well go out and colonize again.
From a business perspective, there is danger in giving in to the panic. Like all panics, it’s a form of mass hysteria. It’s not real, and in fact buyers don’t care, only the pundits and social media “reeee” crowd. My advice to game companies: don’t cave. You will lose customers.
Kern told developers that there is no “untapped mass market” that will automatically start purchasing their games if they censor content, and those who actually buy games don’t care about going “woke.” He is of the view that developers who do stand up against censorship gain more visibility, and end up boosting their sales.
“So go for it,” he advised. “Show that navel.”
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Former Blizzard Developer Criticizes Sony Censorship Policies