Sony's game content guidelines for their PlayStation platforms have led to incidents of game makers censoring their games. One of the earliest known incidents comes from the 1996 PlayStation version of Policenauts. Game creator Hideo Kojima and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) employee Shuhei Yoshida had gotten into a dispute over the game's adult content.[1]

That would not be the only incident. Around October 2018, it had been discovered that some Japanese PS4 games had been subjected to censorship due to policy changes made by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) for video game content. SIE Japan president Atsushi Morita addressed this at the Japan Studio "Fun" Meeting that took place in Tokyo, Japan on December 1, 2018; he stated what translates to "Regarding the regulation of the depiction of content, it’s simply a matter of matching global standards. As for the freedom of expression... we have to think about what might be unpleasant for children and shield them from those things while also thinking and assessing ways to find a balance [for that expression]." (「表現規制に関してはグローバルの基準に合わせただけです。表現の自由と子供への安全とのバランスを考えると難しい問題だなとは思ってます」)[2] Another Sony representative told The Wall Street Journal in April 2019 that the policy changes were introduced in response to the #MeToo movement, the increased visibility of video game livestreaming, and potential legal challenges. Multiple Japanese developers who spoke under the condition of anonymity told WSJ that although they were asked to make changes to their games to fit Sony's guidelines for sexual content, Sony lacked written guidelines regarding it and repeated requests for adjustments were inconsistent.[3][4]

The policy mainly affects games for a PlayStation console that employ fanservice. For example, while the American-produced The Last of Us Part II contains scenes of topless female nudity; it does not have "fanservice", so nothing was censored, except for CERO's guidelines when released in Japan.

Sony's policy changes reportedly have extended to certain forms of violence. In February 2021, Cyberconnect2's President and CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama stated in an interview that Sony compelled the developers to make changes in the Naruto Ultimate series. One of the characters, Minato Namikaze, was originally missing an arm. However, his arm was present in the final game to comply with Sony’s policies.[5]



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