D-Dub Software, the maker of 'adult' (porn) game, BoneTown
, has declared that it is creating a whole new industry - "The Adult Video Game Industry". What it really means is that, because it can't sell its game through traditional games retailers, it's taking its product to the Internet - a move that could be a signpost on the road to a download-only future for games.BoneTown
, in which players have to indulge in the kind of things that GTA IV
hints at, has been given an Adults Only (AO, effectively 18+) rating by America's Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). An AO rating means that most major US retailers won't carry a game. It also means that Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft won't allow a game on their systems. The answer to this, as far as D-Dub Software is concerned, is to sell both boxed and download versions of its (PC-only.... go figure) game over the Internet.
Commenting on the situation D-Dub's CEO, who likes to go by the name of Hod, uttered “It doesn’t make sense. The ratings boards are not telling us that these games aren’t for kids. We know that already. What they’re telling us is that adult games shouldn’t exist at all. We don’t agree, and neither does our customer base of adults who are interested in games that might include themes like sex, drugs, and language. Since they’ve made it so that games like ours can’t be marketed and distributed through the channels other video games use, we are starting a new industry to get this game out to our customers.”
So, will porn games act as a major factor in pushing the games industry towards download-only sales? It was porn-makers adopting the VHS video format, after all, that proved to be one of the deciding factors in the move to VHS over Betamax in the '80s. If one of the largest industries in the world starts acclimatising its customers to getting their games products via download, it could well accelerate acceptance of digital distribution for the rest of the industry.
It's also worth noting that buying a boxed copy of the game will cost you $15 (£9.75) more than getting it via download once you factor in postage.
It should also be noted that, by effectively not allowing BoneTown
to be sold in bricks and mortar retailers, the ESRB and American retail have lost the ability to control who gets hold of the game. All that stands between an underage user and downloading the game or playing the demo is an age gate and, in more cautious households, parental controls.
If you want to see this appalling sexual video game of porn so you can be appalled and disgusted, you can go here. But only if you are over 18 (or in some cases 21).