As you may know, there has been some controversy over the censorship some recent games on Sony platforms have experienced. A report from The Wall Street Journal stated that Sony has new guidelines that have resulted in stricter policy pertaining to censorship. “Sony is concerned that they could become the target of legal and social action,” according to a statement made by a Sony representative.
Because of this, Sony has been closely monitoring the content in games released on its platforms, cracking down on sexually explicit material that was previously deemed to be suitable for release. Now, PS4 versions of games have been edited for content, such as the recent Devil May Cry 5 scene that depicted nudity and, more egregiously, the removal of an entire mode in Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal. It is worth noting that Sony did allow Capcom to undo the censorship in Devil May Cry 5, removing the lens flare that covered up the nude character, but not without an uproar from the community beforehand. (Editor’s Note: It hasn’t been confirmed that the DMC5 censorship was part of Sony’s censorship mandate. It’s just as likely that the censorship was done by Capcom themselves, given evidence of another scene that is edited in a similar manner on all platforms.)
Sony seems to be worried that the depiction of sexually explicit content (Editor’s Note: Mostly revolving around the portrayal of underage characters in a sexually explicit and gratuitous manner) will ruin the company’s worldwide reputation. This mindset is understandable, but it gets a tad complicated when looking at things from a business point of view, as all other platforms are less strict with their censorship policies. In other words, if a game is available on multiple platforms, but the PS4 version has noticeable censorship, it stands to reason that consumer might opt to purchase that game for a different platform.
An argument can be made about tastefulness, which is absolutely fair to bring up. When mixing business with art, things can get tricky—but the fact remains that delaying PS4 versions of games to remove content that’s available on other platforms could result in a loss of a sale. According to a translation by Gematsu, a port of 2017 visual novel Silverio Trinity was still awaiting approval from Sony, due to the game being intended for audiences that are 18 plus. The company seems to be unwilling to allow ports of games that are for ages 18 and up, based on their new policies. Although, they haven’t publicly been revealed.