A recent comment in the comments section (where else would comments go?) of one of our articles here on PS4PlayStation4.com got me to thinking. The comment was simple enough: “How about some 3D interactive adult entertainment? That would be cool.”
Now I’m not going to assume that comment was solely talking about sexual content in games, but that’s what I’ll be discussing in this article, and as I see it, there are two main facets to a discussion on sexuality in games. The first would be, is the English market ready for these types of games? Secondly, are console manufacturers ready to allow this type of content on their systems?
Every Good Article Needs Some Statistics
Let’s first start with the stats, which I think most of us all know by now, that being that gaming has grown up considerably from its early days. The median gamer’s age is now over 30, and well over half of all gamers today are adults. Despite this, and a prominent industry-wide rating system, violence and mature content in games is still a hot topic that certain groups and activists will simply not let go.
With this often-hostile-to-mature-content backdrop, can the English market handle an erotic game? It should be noted from the start that erotic games are not foreign to the English market, and have been present on the PC for years. These usually come from Japan, where they’re called eroge, which basically means ‘erotic game’, and there are several English publishers who specialize in translating these games and releasing them in the English market. These releases are always small and generate little to no fanfare among the gaming or mainstream press though. In fact most people are likely completely oblivious or apathetic to their existence.
Also, the PC is a wholly different beast in comparison to consoles, a veritable wild west where there are virtually no restrictions on content. Consoles are a whole different ball of wax, being presided over by sheriffs (to stick with the wild west theme) who monitor what gets released on the system, and can direct developers to change content or disallow it altogether. Eroge is rare on consoles even in Japan, where they’re far less sensitive about such content, so you can imagine how unlikely it is for an English audience to see one of these games grace a home console. English audiences have long had to deal with small forms of censorship when games get released here, most prominently during Nintendo’s earlier years when they were overly concerned about maintaining their squeaky clean image.
Whether Sony would allow an erotic game to be released on their system in English is a mystery, and I’d have to lean towards no, otherwise I suspect we would have seen one by now. Of course, by the time the PlayStation 4 rolls around, and digital distribution is more prominent, it becomes at least somewhat more plausible that Sony would allow these games to be distributed digitally, as opposed to appearing on store shelves.
We Want Sex, We Want Sex!
Also, how would the English market react to such games seeing release on consoles? I suspect the first erotic game on consoles will receive quite a good deal of coverage from both the gaming and mainstream presses, both positive and negative, and this initial reaction could go a long way in determining whether any more of these games see release in English.
Let’s forget all that for now though and assume that Sony will allow an erotic game to see the light of day on the PS4, the second issue then becomes, is the English market ready for such a game? I don’t think anyone would expect a game like this to become a bestseller, but would it even find enough of a niche to make it worthwhile at all? And would the gameplay offer any redeeming qualities to make it appealing on any level to gamers?
I can say personally that while I wouldn’t be against playing a game with some form of erotic content, or even erotic content as the main theme, it would have to have compelling gameplay on some level for me to want to play. If it’s solely about the eroticism, that would relegate the game to nothing more than a gimmick in my eyes.
The most likely scenario is perhaps a continuation of the slow integration of erotic content into English games, with more and more games featuring some form of sexual content along the lines of BioWare’s Mass Effect and Dragon Age, as opposed to full-blown erotic games. Perhaps over time, we’ll slowly see this type of content become more common and more prominent in games.
A Brave New World of Dongles
An interesting new wrinkle to the whole erotic gaming conversation is the new emphasis on motion controls in console gaming. This could lead to some…interesting, shall we say, forms of gameplay in future erotic games. Is it only a matter of time before we see a game dub itself as ‘the real sex simulator’, featuring full-blown, sexually charged motion controls? Perhaps even coming equipped with its own motion control dongle in the form of a…or sensors that go on your…well, I think you get the idea.
So what do you think? Will we see an erotic console game any time soon, and will it even be worth playing if we do? How do you see the mainstream press and gaming activists reacting to it? Let us know your thoughts on this subject below. Who knows, your comment may even inspire a future article.