PlayStation Studios is prohibited from associating Sony’s name with its political views on abortion. But why ?
There are certain brands, influential and well established in their field, which do not wish to take part in certain political controversies. This is the case of Sony which is apparently at the heart of a case concerning the right to abortion. The Washington Post has indeed got hold of several emails from the company, explaining that Insomniac Games, the studio behind the games Spiderman or Ratchet & Clankwas going to donate $50,000 to the WRAAP association.
It is the acronym of Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project and it is an association that helps women who cannot afford a medicalized and secure voluntary termination of pregnancy. It would seem that Sony intends to go up on this first donation and also give 50,000 dollars to this association, making a total of 100,000 dollars. But then where is the problem?
In emails sent to employees, The Washington Post reports that they are prohibited from mentioning the “taking sides” of the company, or from associating its name with the WRRAP association. A disappointment for those who expected a public statement about these donations. Sony prefers to be discreet and avoid getting wet by making any official statement, although behind the scenes, the leaders indeed seem to have an opinion on this still taboo subject.
—Bungie (@Bungie) May 4, 2022
Which is not necessarily the case for everyone in the video game industry. We indeed remember Bungie’s statement, which occurred just a few days ago, with a message that could almost sound like a direct attack on the Japanese giant. Of course it is not, Bungie should soon join the ranks of PlayStation Studios in an effective way.
Despite everything, this reluctance is also found in other areas, we can notably cite McDonald’s which took several months before wanting to leave Russia, well after many of its competitors and many companies. While this can be justified by a concern for neutrality, often influenced by legal and commercial considerations, the influence that these brands have can sometimes compel them to express an opinion clearly and publicly, especially after actions as important as a donation made to an association.
Will Sony give in to pressure from its players and employees? Nothing is less sure. In an email sent to his teams, the CEO of Insomniac Games would have declared that Sony “will not endorse ANY studio statement on the subject of reproductive rights. We fought for it and we didn’t win.” If they were to talk, “there would be significant repercussions for us as a wholly owned subsidiary and the company would likely be severely limited in its significant public activities in the future“.