Nintendo closed June by holding its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, where president Shuntaro Furukawa addressed questions and concerns from those who own stakes in his company. One such question concerned censoring third-party studios’ games, a practice other publishers partake in:
“About the content regulation. On other platforms, there are cases of restrictions applied independently of CERO and other third-party organizations. What does Nintendo do?”
Furukawa responded by saying Nintendo believes evaluating games’ content is best regulated to the various rating board organizations, such as Japan’s CERO, and individual parents. He does not believe it’s within Nintendo’s – or the industry’s – best interest to “arbitrarily” pursue censoring games, arguing it would damage the “diversity and fairness in game software.”
“Nintendo, as do 3rd-parties and their software, applies for an objective rating from 3rd-party organizations prior to release. If platform-holding companies choose arbitrarily, the diversity and fairness in game software would be significantly inhibited. We provide parental controls that can be used to apply limits.”
Interestingly, this more lax stance renders Nintendo in the opposite position of Sony, one of their direct competitors. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony is making an effort to tone down sexual content in the games available on their platforms. One such reason for this is the rise and prominence of the #MeToo movement, a campaign that empowers women who have been sexually mistreated. “Sony is concerned the company could become a target of legal and social action,” a company spokesperson admitted to the Journal.
Sony is also conscious of, and concerned about, titles sold in its home region, “which traditionally has had more tolerance for near-nudity and images of young women who might appear underage.” Sony is ultimately aiming to preserve their international image; given the rise of streaming services like Twitch, any risqué software native to Japan can potentially be discovered and played before a global audience.
Per Sony’s aversion to overtly explicit sexual content, titles like the visual novel Nekopara Vol. 1 and brawler Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal have been delayed or had their more adult content omitted from their PlayStation 4 releases.