Hello, my name is Drea and I enjoy fan service games. Its no secret if you have followed some of my posts on here that I enjoy the quirky Japanese JRPG genre. Sony has always been a place where players like me can get their fix in a console space without too much issue if the game was lucky enough to get localized in the first place. Since Sony is a Japanese company it never crossed my mind that we would be here at a point in the present. Here being where Sony is starting to censor games that have fan service elements in them.
What is Fanservice?
Fan service can mean two different things depending on who you talk to. In the West it mainly means games or media that caters to the fans of said media in a semi-obvious fashion. For example, the Iron Spider man suit popping up in Avengers when it really didn’t need to. The fans wanted to see it so they put it in. For Japanese media or games it can mean that too BUT it also means games or media where sexual content may be present.
I want to be clear, there have been games censored in the past due to the cultural differences between American and Japanese audiences. However, most of the time that came from the developer themselves because some things just will not work in the States. We are always informed of these changes, including these current changes, via a press release so it’s not a surprise but still disappointing none the less. Western games are also censored in other regions due to certain imagery not being appropriate but it’s usually violence or death imagery.
Are Japanese Games Singled Out?
The situation with Sony is that now it seems clear that they are censoring games that are primarily from Japanese developers and games that have some fan service or sexual element to them. As of now and to my knowledge, no other game genre has been hit with this policy quite as hard as this one. Sony released some PR citing the #MeToo movement as a catalyst for this tightening of its policy and to me, that sounds like a convenient excuse. The other thing that is fascinating is that Nintendo, the company that used to be notorious for curating its content to be more family friendly, is openly allowing these same games to be sold on their platform without any changes.
Speaking of the latest victim of Sony’s policy, the original Conception title has released a statement about the censorship coming to the PS4 version of the game. I understand why these games can make people uncomfortable. There is one aspect of these games that I don’t care for and that is the sexualization of “loli” characters. The work around is to usually make them an immortal being that is 1000 years old. Personally, I avoid picking those characters in harem games and go about my day.
Power to the Player?
I think there is a place for all kinds of genres in games and that players should be able to access the content they want on whatever platform they choose to use. It bothers me that in order to play the game as intended I have to either play it on my Switch or get a PC. Full disclosure, I am not a PC gamer and have no desire to enter that space. Sony was always my happy medium because while I didn’t get to play all the games I liked, I was satisfied.
This starts another conversation about the ESRB and the ability for parents to be informed consumers to help their children avoid games with content they do not want them to see. It also warrants exploration about the cultural differences between Japan and America and why America has such an issue with sexual content and not the gratuitous violence that is consumed by gamers of all ages.
Luckily for me, I have a Switch so some of these games will come to that platform as well. What that means is that Sony will see less of my money especially since they no longer compete in the handheld space where games used to come to the Vita. Some people may not care about this issue at all and Sony will most likely not see a significant change to their bottom line without players who enjoy this genre. However, if Xbox embraces this genre next generation, I may for the first time ever migrate off of the ecosystem. I’m also a person that believes that Adult Only (AO) games should be sold in the states on consoles but that is a conversation for another day.
Let me know what you think. Does censorship matter? Is Sony isolated a big part of the audience that has invested in the system?