The Me Too era has appeared to have influenced Sony to think about depictions of women in video games more thoroughly.
The company confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it plans on cracking down on sexual content in video games. Sony has created its own strict rules and guidelines for sexual materials. This structure reportedly will override current video game ratings like Entertainment Software Rating Board’s systems (ESRB).
Now, from the outside this appears as a genuine effort to deal with the current misogyny issue(s) that’s still within gaming. But, based on WSJ’s report, it appears this is just a standard put in place to make sure the company isn’t me too’d at some point.
The WSJ cites an unnamed Sony officials concerns that the company could be a “target of legal and social action” if sexually explicit material sold in Japan or other countries are spotlighted. Engadget stated that studios in Japan are “more willing to produce racy games, including titles that demean women and sexualize underage girls.”
Sony has now confirmed the existence of a new “content policy” for certain sexual content. Source: https://t.co/nrfbzgP23M
As a result, developers, especially in Japan, are not happy about this new decision from Sony.
Of course, we can’t sit here and say that misogyny or hypersexualization isn’t an issue in life or in gaming. For example in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 if you entered in the (O) (O) a character named Daisy would perform sexual moves on a skateboard, various video games have create incentives for sexual acts as either “Easter Eggs” or experience points and online gaming is still plagued by sexism on top of racism and more.
But, where is the line drawn? Will this be enforced equally within different regions and cultures around the world? And how will this effect creativity and gaming output? It almost feels like the development of a “gamergate” by Sony.
As a woman, yes I do want to make sure that misogyny doesn’t become or stay as an ingrained aspect of gaming. But, I also don’t want companies like Sony to have massive power to dictate what is approved and what isn’t because some things aren’t always straight forward when it comes to the depiction of art.