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Nintendo Says Censoring Games is Bad for the Industry

  • Censorship significantly inhibits diversity. 
  • Prefers to leave regulation to ESRB.
  • Parental controls and good parenting replace censorship.

At Nintendo’s Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, president Shuntaro Furukawa had some words for the recent trend of censorship in games, such as those by Sony. When asked about how Nintendo intended to handle the matter, Furakawa responded that content regulation for third-party titles was better left to ratings agencies like the ESRB or CERO.

He went on to say that arbitrary gatekeeping of games–as in, not driven by market forces–was ultimately harmful to the industry as a whole. In this tweet from Censored Gaming, you can see the quote in full:

And since Twitter is notorious for censorship itself, here is the full text of Furukawa’s response, as well as the question:

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?

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.

Compare this quote to the one below on the same subject by the president of Sony Japan, Atsushi Morita, as shared by One Angry Gamer:

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].

So Nintendo has positioned itself as a sort of ideological opponent to Sony on the issue of censorship, favoring personal responsibility, parental controls, and ratings agencies rather than top-down control. While Sony chooses to artificially shape the market to meet what it calls “global standards,” Nintendo puts tools in place for consumers to make these decisions for themselves.

It’s a fascinating collision of perspectives, and I look forward to watching how it will play out in the long run. What do you think? Which line of thinking is more likely to lead to long term success? Which do you favor personally?

Post Comment

  1. Captain_Feels on June 30, 2019 at 10:49 pm said

    Nintendo got it right. ESRB is all you need for regulation.

    I must know… where is the article thumbnail from? Hehe.

  2. StanTheStrongArm on July 1, 2019 at 12:23 am said

    So, Xenoblade X and Tokyo Mirage Sessions uncensored when?

    • PanicFire on July 3, 2019 at 10:18 am said

      Nintendo didn’t say it would uncensor or censor games it said that the choice to do so is on the publisher developer as well as the content policies already in place (PEGI ESRB) and nintendo’s job is to give parents the TOOLS needed to police said content for consumers ranther than they themselves dictate what consumers should be allowed to view play.

  3. James Yee on July 1, 2019 at 3:29 am said

    .Good to see someone at Nintendo being on the right side of things, but that doesn’t mean publishers or developers won’t self-censor per market. 🙁

  4. At least Nintendo got it right:
    Provide the tools to censor yourself without stifling freedom of expression.

  5. As it should be. Fuck censoring.

  6. fusrodahmesenpai on July 1, 2019 at 5:56 pm said

    Way to go Nintendo! I think I’ll go buy a Nintendo Switch so I can play me some dirty games. I think more adult game creators will be making content for switch with a statement like that being made.

  7. Thank you, Mr Furukawa. Letting products live on their merits without interference is all I can ask from a platform holder. It seems my Switch purchase from earlier this year was not a mistake.

  8. Christopher D. Thibeault on July 1, 2019 at 9:29 pm said

    Why would I want the company to decide when any self-respecting parent should step in?

  9. Clickbait headline which grossly misrepresents Furukowra’s words. Screw you Jack Lindsey.

    • BrigandBoy on July 2, 2019 at 5:56 pm said

      You are trolling, yes?

      “If platform-holding companies choose arbitrarily, the diversity and fairness in game software would be significantly inhibited. ”

      If companies censor, it is bad for the industry. How else are you meant to interpret that quote? How is hat “grossly misrepresenting” the quote?

      I’ll give you an example of grossly misrepresenting something; the above quote from Furukowra summarized implies that we should have sex with barn animals. In other words, FURUKOWRA ADVOCATES ZOOPHILIA.

      THAT is grossly misrepresenting a quote. I have no idea what you are talking about.

    • Jonathan on July 2, 2019 at 8:21 pm said

      You might want to elaborate

  10. And this is why I am getting a Switch.

  11. Musou Tensei on July 2, 2019 at 4:45 pm said

    Glad that the new President isn’t a moron.

  12. Jonathan on July 2, 2019 at 8:18 pm said

    I’m investing more money into Nintendo for having a backbone.

  13. God Bless Nintendo for respecting the consumer and letting the ratings board handle it.

    Definitely going to get a Switch when that $199 is announced.

  14. Nintendo re-affirming why they’re the king of console gaming.

  15. All Hail Nintendo. The company that stays true to it’s core values and thinks about it’s audience over everything else.

  16. TheSporeHQ92 on July 2, 2019 at 9:23 pm said

    Domo arigato, Nintendo sama

  17. Surprised and super happy that Nintendo is doing this. Good on ya Nintendo. Been a Sony fan for a long time but I am completely against the censorship approach that they have been taking. Let the game developers make the game they want to make.

  18. If only Nintendo’s North American localizers were as enlightened as their parent company’s executives…

    • I see no point of celebrating until this point is addressed. Are they going to properly release Fire Emblem Fates or Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE?

      Unlikely.

  19. philippe.heroux on July 3, 2019 at 1:01 am said

    Good job Nintendo.

  20. NintendoFan on July 3, 2019 at 3:26 am said

    Nintendo already did the censoring thing… see Mortal Combat on the SNES. I think they learned their lesson 20 years ago.

  21. I am not a fan of Nintendo, partially because the games they are known for don’t appeal to me (not a Manga/Anime fan here, sorry), and also their whole corporate idea is not to my liking… BUT I got to applaud here. Censorship is mutilation of media. It’s patronizing and mostly hypocrisy.
    So, thanks Nintendo for being awesome this time, and Exclusively Games for covering this!

    CENSORSHIP MUST DIE!

  22. Raven Valentine on July 3, 2019 at 9:13 pm said

    YES ! THANK YOU FOR BEING ADULTS ! ♥

  23. Censorship has always been a hot issue, but censorship fueled by agendas is something that must be called out and guarded against. I’m sure the male gamer majority, especially those from the dawn of gaming, have seen the latest efforts to curtail that which is pleasurable to healthy men. I must say that I am shocked that only Nintendo has the backbone to stand up to agenda based censorship and will support them in anyway I can.

  24. Damn now I feel obligated to buy Switch

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