The waves the #Metoo movement made has reached the shores of the video game industry as well. Sony established new rules for the portrayal of women on their platform.
Sony has finished the new guidelines for video game developers to offer a ’more balanced content’ on the PlayStation 4. The stricter rules refer primarily to the depiction of women in video games.
Sony representatives told The Wall Street Journal that the motif behind the changes was the concern that the company could became a target of legal and social action. The potential financial liability made Sony to establish new guidelines on sexual content in video games.
Another factor that drives their concern that content that may portray women in a demeaning way reach a lot more people regardless sex and age, through YouTube-channels and streaming platforms.
Bringing up the issue of the portrayal of women in video games and other media had opened a whole can of worms before. Among others, Anita Sarkeesian, an outspoken critic on the issue and creator of the Feminist Frequency web series, became a target of threats and harassment in 2014.
But with Mee Too movement in the mainstream, even the Japanese digital entertainment giant was forced to reconsider its policies on video games.
Sony representatives in the US haven’t responded to this new policy yet. With 94 million sold units PlayStation 4 is the most popular video game console of the world. The company’s games division accounts for one-third of the total revenue.
Now whether this means that the eye-candy female characters of the Soul Calibur or Dead or Alive series will show less skin on PlayStation than before that remains to be seen. One explicit goal of Sony’s new guideline that playing video games should ’not inhibit the sound growth and development of young people’.
This policy is somewhat reminiscent to the family friendly image of the Nintendo, which had failed miserably time and again, either because the released products did not fit in this policy, or they did fit too well and consumers chose other platform to play the same title on. Nintendo does not regulate sexual content on their platforms, the company only requires a rating from the developers.