Sony Makes New Censorship Rules for Japanese Game Devs!
Sony has been slowly adding additional censorship restraints and requirements on the video game development community in Japan. First reported by Japanese website esuteru, Sony has now passed policies requiring Japanese developers to submit their games to a western “English” content review authority (ESRB / PEGI). For Japanese developers this means submitting their games to 2 rating boards, a Western authority and Japan’s own video game content review board CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization). This applies to all PlayStation games developed by Japanese developers, including games not planned on being released outside of Japan!
This won’t affect larger Japanese developers who can often absorb extra costs in the development process. But smaller gaming companies especially indie developers could be affected by this. How this affects the PS4 and the PlayStation brand over the next couple of years should be interesting. Recently Sony made large efforts to place censorship restrictions on Japanese games scheduled to release in the west including Omega Labyrinth Z and Senran Kagura: Burst Renewal. Many Japanese indie games rely on a small but loyal fanbase while having the ability to easily port games from one platform to the next. Sony push to having additional policies relating to the game content rating process will increase the cost for smaller developers in Japan – possibly making them avoid the PlayStation platform altogether. Luckily the Nintendo Switch has proven to be an amazing console for indie developers and doesn’t have the same content rating restrictions!