Why Censorship is Never Acceptable
Censorship has always been a hot topic when it comes to video games, but before we go into detail, it is important to remember the different between censorship and the ESRB Ratings Board. The ESRB runs through a game, and rates the game based on content from E for Everyone to AO for Adults Only. There are only a handful of Adults Only rated Video Games, but never the less, there is a difference. If a game is rated Adults Only, it can still be released to the public. Censorship is when the Publishers and Developers are told specifically that they are required to take out or change certain aspects of the game in order for it to be acceptable for the audience.
Right now, Nintendo and Microsoft have been very lenient when it comes to Video Game Censorship. Usually Publishers, Developers, and Distributors have a common code of respect, and unless something it truly gregarious, very rarely does Nintendo or Microsoft censor games. SONY have been the company who has actively been censoring games the most in the game industry, and it is coming to the point where it is affecting game sales. SONY has always caused problems with game censorship and game sales due to their own personal agenda. While we are not going to go through the whole history, we are going to talk about a few recent example.
In October of 2018, XSEED Accounced that the PS4 Version of Senran Kagura Burst: Re:Newal would be censored by removing the "Intimacy Mode", while the Steam Version would not be censored. On March 27th, 2019, it was announced that creator Kenichiro Takaki would be leaving Marvelous after 13 years working for the company. The biggest reason being that recent censorship of his titles. While the future is not clear for Kenichiro, Marvelous studios' biggest franchise is the Senran Kagura franchise, and while Senran Kagura Peach Ball will come out on the Nintendo Switch, the future of Senran Kagura is also unclear.
Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart is an Adult Visual Novel that was released on PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Most of SONY's Censorship is going after Visual Novels videos games with sexual content, and while the Nintendo Switch, PC, and PSVita versions are uncensored, the PS4 Version was. It was not so heavy, it was mostly light covering up girls in bikinis, but it begs the question, what is the point of censoring the games in the first place?
How about a whole game not being allowed to be sold in the West? Omega Labyrinth Z was a game that was localized and ready to be released in the Western market, until SONY straight banned from releasing in the West. PQube, the Publisher, said in a statement " In the case of Omega Labyrinth Z, while PQube has worked with all relevant age rating bodies in their respective territories, PQube must respectfully comply with the wishes of the platform holder and have therefore withdrawn any future plans for Omega Labyrinth Z’s European and North American release on PS4 and PS Vita.” Whether or not the game was going to sell millions is irrelevant. This is an example of a game that was developed and published in Japan, but was not allowed to be released in Western Market due to cultural differences.
Very rarely do we like to get opinionated here on Night At The Arcades, but this is a topic that everyone working at Night At The Arcades agrees on unanimously. In an era where violence is not censored, and rather embrace, especially by SONY, this is actually somewhat disgusting. SONY not only was very much accepting of Capcom's Resident Evil 2, which is a game with some of the most realistic "zombie physics", but SONY is also developing Days Gone and The Last of Us 2. The Last of Us 2 presented a scenario where a woman is get her arm beaten and broken by a hammer, and many people dying by getting their throats slit. Yet a little bit of fan service and female sexuality has caused games to be altered, changed, or banned, is very much disrespectful.
SONY's defense has been that they want to create a platform that is accessible for all ages, but SONY is not holding to its values. SONY prefers to pick and choose its values, and violence, even intense violence, is acceptable on the Playstation platform, but sexual content is not. Devil May Cry 5 was a recently release where Trish and Lady's butts were slightly covered by a beam of light, but remained uncensored on the Xbox One version. SONY did allow the beams of light to be taken out in a later patch, but it begs the question; Why does SONY need to be involved?
Part of the reason we do not accept censorship is because it creates this idea that SONY is the parent, choosing what we are allowed to play and not allowed to play. Consumers, especially in the modern age when most people who play video games are over the age of 17, should be and are responsible enough to choose what they want to play. If we are to treat video games as are, we should not be telling developers that they have to change their art.
Censorship is Never Acceptable