Sony explains why it censored BMX XXX
Sony Computer Entertainment America announced today their reasoning behind asking Acclaim to censor portions of BMX XXX. SCEA believed the game displayed a threat to the Sony console brand and eliminating topless images would not hinder the overall gameplay of the title. With a number of retailers already opting not to stock the game, Sony finally made the final decision concerning the content of the game. Listed below are SCEA's official statements concerning BMX XXX:
"We asked Acclaim to cover the topless females," said a SCEA representative, who asked to remain anonymous. "We worked with Acclaim on this game, and none of the changes that we asked to be made affected gameplay. We didn't feel that the topless nudity fundamentally added to the gameplay experience, and it presented in issue with regard to our global platform strategy and our guidelines. And because we have invested so much, and have built in so much equity to our system, we feel we need to protect that."
"We obviously have been a big supporter of the ESRB rating codes, but we feel that the way this game is presented will detrimentally impact our platform and the brand," the Sony representative added. "Great games find an audience no matter what. And just as Acclaim has stated, perhaps this adjustment [the censoring of female topless nudity] may actually help BMX XXX find better retail space; not because of gimmicks in it, but because it's a quality product."
Currently K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Toys R US, KayBee Toys, Best Buy and Circuit City are choosing not to stock the game, and this covers a heavy amount of retail chains. SCEA is asking the retailers to rethink their status now that the game has been censored, but at the moment no store has changed their position.
"We anticipated going into the project that certain retail stores might not carry the game," said Alan Lewis, PR director at Acclaim. "However, the distribution for BMX XXX is substantial. We will be in more than 15,000 storefronts nationwide when the game launches on November 19."
"We believe that there is a general, unfair characterization of the interactive entertainment industry and as a result, our product is being held to an entirely different standard than other entertainment media with comparable content, including movies, television and radio," said Greg Fischbach, co-chairman and CEO of Acclaim, in a previous statement referring to retailer decisions to not distribute the game. "According to NPD's August report, more than 60% of all next-generation hardware owners are men over the age of 18, and this combined with the fact that last year's number one-selling game was mature rated, fully supports our belief in the demand for this type of content."
"While we acknowledge that we are setting new benchmarks with BMX XXX, we are disappointed that there are groups who fail to see how this humorous product is truly on par with such widely accepted mainstream entertainment experiences, including movies like American Pie, and TV shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City," added Fischbach. "As a leading publisher, we fully believe that consumers should have a right to choose their entertainment, and with that right comes the importance of responsible consumerism. This product was not designed for, nor is it being marketed to consumers under the age of 17, and we fully support the Electronic Software Rating Board and encourage consumers to utilize their rating systems to make educated purchases."
BMX XXX is scheduled for release November 19. We will keep you updated concerning the retailers listed above and their situation with selling the game.
11/7/2002 Matt Stensrud