September 30, 2005 5:01 PM PDT

Adult-oriented video games prospering

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games rated by the ESRB, with adults-only games making up only 0.1 percent of that total. Some estimate the worldwide game market is about $20 billion, which would mean that as much as $2.4 million worth of adults-only games are sold each year.

Dave Potter is a principal at Ensign Games, which publishes "Dream Stripper," a 3D stripping title in which players are tasked with coaxing a stripper to remove her clothes. He explained that the game's forums have ended up being a place where "Dream Stripper" users have said very clearly what they want.

"One of our pushes early on was to ask, 'What breast size do you want to see for a model?'" Potter said. "Thousands of people were coming and voting and saying they want superlarge (breasts). Now reality has come back and people are saying, 'No, keep them realistic.'"

But Ensign's troubles getting media coverage for "Dream Stripper" when it was released may help explain why so many people were surprised by the "Hot Coffee" situation.

"We thought we could go out to (game-review and news sites like) Blues News or Shack News, and say, 'Hey, we've got this new game out, give us a news item," Potter said. "But they wouldn't even touch it because it was" adult-oriented.

Another reason for so many people's surprise at the availability of sexual content in games is that big-box retailers, which according to Brathwaite account for more than 60 percent of all video game sales, won't carry most adult-only titles.

"We generally do not sell AO-rated product in much the same way that our members don't normally sell X-rated movies," said Hal Halpin, president of the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association, which represents large retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.

Meanwhile, Brathwaite thinks one of the most interesting elements of the dynamic involving sexual content in video games is when such content occurs in open-ended online games like "World of Warcraft."

"In 'World of Warcraft' and even in 'Ultima Online,' one of the very first things that happened was an emergent sexual thing," said Brathwaite, referring to how players of such massively multiplayer online games figured out how to conceive of sexual situations in what are otherwise mostly medieval fantasy titles.

In an interview for this story, the ratings board's Vance told CNET News.com that there is little her organization can do about designating mature or adults-only ratings for games in which sexual content cannot be predicted and is based entirely on users exploiting titles' open-ended tools.

"We can't do anything, nor can publishers, with user-generated content," said Vance. "And we can't rate user-generated content. So our solution is we provide an online rating notice on (online games) that says 'Game experience may change during online play.'"

And Vance also suggested parents must get involved when there's the chance their children may encounter sexual content in online games.

"If parents are concerned about kids being exposed to inappropriate content while they're playing online," she said, "then they should not allow their kids to be playing online."

In any case, while a number of politicians like Sen. Hillary Clinton leaped at the opportunity to attack Rockstar Games--the publisher of GTA: San Andreas--for the "Hot Coffee" scenes, some think the scandal was overblown and that parents need to take on more responsibility for monitoring what their children play with, regardless of whether the content involves sex or violence.

"That is why the ratings are in place," said David Strom, editor-in-chief of the PC products news and reviews site Tom's Hardware, which has run several articles about things like nude skins for mainstream games like "Tomb Raider," "Half Life 2" and "The Sims 2."

"Maybe it is time that the adults who buy these games for their kids should pay attention to the ratings on the box," said Strom. "The interesting thing is when we ran the screenshots on Tom's of some of the ("Hot Coffee" scenes), we got complaints from several readers who thought that the pictures were offensive. But we don't get any complaints when we show screens of violence in the games."

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18 comments

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Imagine That!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Imagine That
Posted by stgoehn (11 comments )
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Imagine That!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Imagine That
Posted by stgoehn (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sex vs violence
it amazes me how we in the US ar so uptight about nudity and sex, i.e. "hot coffee" and the superbowl "wardrobe malfunction" yet movies like Event Horizen, in which a guy TEARS OUT HIS OWN EYES, only get an R rating
Posted by god2600 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sex vs violence
it amazes me how we in the US ar so uptight about nudity and sex, i.e. "hot coffee" and the superbowl "wardrobe malfunction" yet movies like Event Horizen, in which a guy TEARS OUT HIS OWN EYES, only get an R rating
Posted by god2600 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm surprised it's not more prevalent
Considering the fact that porn has pretty much financed the growth of the internet, I'm shocked that the gaming industry hasn't cashed in on this source of revenue.
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
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I'm surprised it's not more prevalent
Considering the fact that porn has pretty much financed the growth of the internet, I'm shocked that the gaming industry hasn't cashed in on this source of revenue.
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Duke Nukem3d
Remember the one level with strippers dancing? If you went up to them and hit the space bar he'd say "shake it baby" and hold up a buck... that was great... this kind of stuff has been going on forever, why is it such a surprise now?
Posted by tocam27 (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Duke Nukem3d
Remember the one level with strippers dancing? If you went up to them and hit the space bar he'd say "shake it baby" and hold up a buck... that was great... this kind of stuff has been going on forever, why is it such a surprise now?
Posted by tocam27 (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
12 percent or 0.1 percent
You make two percentage references on each side of a statement. Leads one to think it could be 2.4Billion in total sales of adult-only titles rated by the ESRB. It's a big difference.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
12 percent or 0.1 percent
You make two percentage references on each side of a statement. Leads one to think it could be 2.4Billion in total sales of adult-only titles rated by the ESRB. It's a big difference.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sex Machine Game
Virtual Reality Sex Machines are now available. A male sex game / machine let's men interact with Nurse Nikki on screen to engage in virtual reality sex with this animated character. <a class="jive-link-external" href="https://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911" target="_newWindow">https://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911</a>
Posted by lance39 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sex Machine Game
Virtual Reality Sex Machines are now available. A male sex game / machine let's men interact with Nurse Nikki on screen to engage in virtual reality sex with this animated character. <a class="jive-link-external" href="https://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911" target="_newWindow">https://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911</a>
Posted by lance39 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sex Machine
Virtual reality sex machines are available now. Interaction with both a sex device and an on screen nurse Nicci. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911" target="_newWindow">http://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911</a>
Posted by lance39 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sex Machine
Virtual reality sex machines are available now. Interaction with both a sex device and an on screen nurse Nicci. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911" target="_newWindow">http://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911</a>
Posted by lance39 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What ever happened to Duke?
I remember NukeEm 3D was pretty good for when it came out. (The dollar was kinda amusing) But come to think of it, when did people get so uptight about games? Granted I know most of the people who are against certian games and wanting to classify them with adult movies and magazines are most likely non-gamers themselves. Note that the problems arose from 3rd party mods, and that main game developers gate punished for it? If that's the case, someone could come up with a mod to make all the chess pieces in a simple board game be pole dancers, should the company who made just CHESS have to rate their game mature? What if a 3rd party mod came out to make a kids game a bloodbath?

The time should not be spent on legal issues with the intial developers and forcing shelf removal, but to put a message out for parents to monitor their kids. A lot of parents seem to want to be able to give their kids video games, internet, tv, and movies so that they don't have to be responsible for them. For those parents that do still actually raise their children, watch tv and play video games with them, and talk to them about the violence, good job.
Posted by xandersturn (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What ever happened to Duke?
I remember NukeEm 3D was pretty good for when it came out. (The dollar was kinda amusing) But come to think of it, when did people get so uptight about games? Granted I know most of the people who are against certian games and wanting to classify them with adult movies and magazines are most likely non-gamers themselves. Note that the problems arose from 3rd party mods, and that main game developers gate punished for it? If that's the case, someone could come up with a mod to make all the chess pieces in a simple board game be pole dancers, should the company who made just CHESS have to rate their game mature? What if a 3rd party mod came out to make a kids game a bloodbath?

The time should not be spent on legal issues with the intial developers and forcing shelf removal, but to put a message out for parents to monitor their kids. A lot of parents seem to want to be able to give their kids video games, internet, tv, and movies so that they don't have to be responsible for them. For those parents that do still actually raise their children, watch tv and play video games with them, and talk to them about the violence, good job.
Posted by xandersturn (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DataFlirt
I think new ideas like the sex chat game at www.dataflirt.com, is something we will see more of in videogames. Erotic multiplayer games that are not so much a game as online "one night stands"...
Posted by Lisabu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DataFlirt
I think new ideas like the sex chat game at www.dataflirt.com, is something we will see more of in videogames. Erotic multiplayer games that are not so much a game as online "one night stands"...
Posted by Lisabu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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