Business and values, the fleeting frontier

By the Council of Nicea of 325, interest was banned by the Church because it was opposed to the values of the Gospel (see for reference the brilliant play The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare). You have to wait until the XVI century and the Protestant Reformation to finally have profit and religion get along. 500 years later, the same question surfaces : should business stop when it hits values?

The recently established US branch of Idea Factory announced that they would release the rather kinky Monster MonPiece for PSVita in the West. Good news so far, but the publisher has decided to remove 16 illustrations considered as incompatible with «the values of the [Western] society». What is this bullshit? For starters, the «society» is not going to buy Monster MonPiece, nor is it even aware of its existence. Furthermore, the «society» doesn’t even have Vitas. A few more ecchi images won’t make ANY difference but will satisfy the costumers of Idea Factory. Let’s stress that this is the very first game of Idea Factory in the West : launching an all-out war with its very clients is not the best way to start business.

So, was Idea Factory afraid of rating boards? True, ESRB has rated the censored version of Monster MonPiece «Mature». The cut content might have meant a AO (Adult) rating, which would make it tricky to market the game. BUT given that ESRB gives DLCs the same rating as the main game, it would be harmless for the publisher to offer the cut content separately. In Europe, the game is PEGI 12, which makes some room for more hardcore illustrations. There is therefore no ground for such decision. «values» have no juridical value. Nobody can sue Idea Factory over values. True, there are laws that ban some content featuring underage children, but any illustration still in Monster MonPiece could be concerned by such legislation. Again, some more cards wouldn’t change anything. In such logic, import game shops should be shut down, for they sell any Japanese game. To Love-ru is a manga that is also rather opposed to the «values», but you can pick it and read it in any bookshop. So far, no one has complained about values. Why? Because this is not MacCarthysm any more. There is no watchdog monitoring values, and fortunately creation and fiction are still free.

But as we’re talking values, let’s take one : «Thou Shalt Not Kill», ancestral and still widely shared value. Did Rockstar care about that value when releasing GTAV? Given that that particular value has been transgressed millions of time in their game, I think they didn’t. Who’s suing GTAV? Why doesn’t the government forbid that? Simply because it would be considered more like a constraint to the freedom of trade rather than a noble act of to protect «values». Monster MonPiece, although economically much tinier, is no different. 

We must STOP coming up with values at every corner, simply because the law is precisely here to draw the line beyond which ideas and content hurt the values. What is not forbidden is authorized. For Monster MonPiece as for GTAV, the law is called PEGI, CERO, ESRB, and the law says OK. Consequently, Monster MonPiece, unlike Idea Factory, has no problem with values.

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One thought on “Business and values, the fleeting frontier

  1. Great article. I am for an open marketplace of ideas. To me censorship serves no one. If people want something badly enough it will happen.

    Prohibition in the United States was an abject failure and the consumption of alcohol with all its issues is legal to this day. On sexual content pornographic material has been legal for decades despite any social harm it may cause.

    Freedom in a society put the onus on the individual to make decisions as to what content they view or purchase. What is truly bizarre in this example is a company felt okay localizing something, but then censored it. This will attract exactly zero new customers and cost them existing ones. Anyone who would be offended by the images in question will be offended by many other images associated with the game. I do not understand it and find doing so on moral grounds to be laughable. The only way they could rationalize this would be if the images would prevent the games release.

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