Sony refuses to rule out Australian PlayStation adult content

Adult content download service for console launched in Japan with American providers hoping for more markets

Sony Australia may allow downloadable adult content on its popular PlayStation 3 console locally as it prepares to launch a local video download service.

Earlier this year, the Japanese adult content provider,, launched a service that provides high-definition pornography to consoles. Users use the PS3’s Internet functionality to download and store the movies direct to console.

An American adult content producer, Vivid Entertainment, has welcomed the move and indicated it wants to provide a similar service for other regions.

Sony Australia has successfully rolled out its music video service, VidZone, which had 55 per cent of Playstation 3 owners signed on in late July. However, that service does not provide adult content.

“For Playstation 3, we have plans for a video download service to launch in Australia next year,” Sony Computer Entertainment Australia managing director, Michael Ephraim, said at the time.

A Sony spokesperson reiterated the localised nature of the Japanese service and the fact it was not accessible for Australian users.

“The content you refer to from Japan is not PlayStation Network content, hence not provided by Sony Computer Entertainment,” the spokesperson said. “The key point here is that it is simply a website, not authorised by Sony.”

But the spokesperson admitted Sony could prevent the Japanese content from being accessed by users and would not rule out a similar third-party service from being established for Australian PS3 users.

“It’s the same as web browsing on your laptop, whether you want to restrict access or not for different users and so forth,” ARN was told. “The [Sony] download service will work within the classification requirements of Australia.”

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said online content that was rated MA15+ and above had to comply with the Restricted Access System Declaration 2007.

“The ACMA implements the scheme set out under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 for investigating complaints about online content that may be prohibited, but does not classify or 'clear' content for viewing or sale online,” an ACMA spokesperson wrote in an email.

“The ACMA cannot provide advice on the likely outcome of a hypothetical complaint or investigation.”

Although the act explicitly bans online content that provides “real depictions of sexual activity”, Sex Party convenor, Fiona Patten, said such content hosted overseas would not be illegal for Australian users to download.

“It would be quite legal and it would bypass all Australian censorship laws, which is what probably millions of Australians are doing today,” she said. “If the current Government’s plans for a mandatory filter fall into place, then these sites will be blocked from Australians.

“I think it would be hugely popular and we’re already seeing it in the adult industry where the sale of downloads have overtaken the sale of physical goods such as DVDs.”

Sony was keen to stress the built-in parental controls of the PlayStation 3, which allows users to deactivate the console’s Internet browser.

The vendor has also partnered with security giant, Trend Micro, to offer 90-day free trials of its content filtering software.

Child Wise CEO and ISP filtering advocate, Bernadette McMenamin, said Sony’s filtering options were a good step that must be improved on.

“My son and his friends who are teens can probably get around those filters so while I do advocate filters, it’s really about the parents communicating with their children and watching what they’re doing online,” she said.

But the child advocate was against the idea of a compulsory Sony-initiated ban on adult content that couldn’t be controlled by parents.

“Absolutely not, no. Parents must be able to control it and they need to take responsibility,” McMenamin said.