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Jan 28, 2005



I am curious why traditional MMO worlds do not experiment with "features" of this sort. Anarchy Online has run a fairly risque advertising campaign for years, with pictures of thong-clad female characters. Could credit-card verification unlock "adult" features in these games, and would this boost subscriber numbers?

Presumably MMO companies are wary of being seen as the "XXX MMORPG", with the possible stigma and parental guidance issues. In addition, the support side of such features could be a real nightmare -- it doesn't take much imagination to picture the griefing and petition scenarios. Hence I would predict that "adult" worlds will remain a niche market, with mainstream companies afraid to touch them.


I'm still surprised one of these games isn't a chart-topper.


In the Links section of Sociolotron, they speak highly of The Complete Guide to Unlawful Carnal Knowledge which covers the often overlooked design decisions behinds issues such as inter-species fertility, how to handle veneral disease in rpgs, the sub-class of Bard called Gigolo, and of course, the fatality move called "the bobbit". I love the Internet. ;-)


To the extent that sex consists of a limited series of repetitive actions, I would posit two things:
1. 3D sex-themed worlds will lack staying power, if they are nothing more than chat rooms with obscene animations. It could get pretty boring for anybody over 12 years old. Text offers far more imaginative possibilities.
2. Perhaps sex could form the basis of a repetitive level grind, like other MMO genre games. Through a series of conquests, the player could gain powers, "moves" or other rewards.

And of course, adult features could be added to an existing MMO game, without too much technical difficulty.


It does give new meaning to the 'grind'.


What I wonder is how much you can get on eBAY for a character that is renown for his/her sexual prowess?

It would be a chance for your average geek to experience life as a sex god (at least until he/she ruined the character's rep). :)


The biggest problem is that games in general are still seen as "kid's stuff". Yes, we know it's not entirely true and we know that adults play our games, but there are people out there that make a living trying to scare parents. The problem with trying to do a high-profile game based on sex is that you will instantly be harassed by these groups claiming that you're trying to help child predators find their prey. We already have these people demonizing chatrooms for this reason, think of how they would react to a game that had more explicit sexual overtones.

Frankly, I don't think that sexual content will hold people over the long term. The thrill of traditional internet porn is that you can look at it and be done... until the next time you want the thrill of looking at something "dirty". Having a persistent character, having to deal with other people repeatedly, getting entangled in relationships gone wrong, never knowing the "real" person you're seeing, etc. All this ruins the fantasy the world is trying to construct. If you're going to have all that hassle, might as well find someone in the offline world to enjoy sex with.

For me, at least, offline sex trumps online sex every time.


David Reim>In the Links section of Sociolotron, they speak highly of The Complete Guide to Unlawful Carnal Knowledge

There's a Complete Guide to Alcohol, too.



Psychochild>If you're going to have all that hassle, might as well find someone in the offline world to enjoy sex with.

For nerdy, 15-year-old boys who can't even talk to a girl without getting laughed at, the hassle may be worth it.



Green> For me, at least, offline sex trumps online sex every time.

Even if you have to close your eyes while fucking? Mental sex with a person you desire can be quite rewarding. Safe too.


What I find particularly interesting, both with respect to Sociolotron and the Kirkaldy ruleset referred to by David, is not so much that there is sex in a virtual world (tinysex has probably been around since MUD1, or soon thereafter...), but rather the integration of sexual conduct into the ruleset of the world. Traditionally, MUDsex has been an affair described through emotes - whether typed or through macros - but there was no integration of the action into the world physics, which would lead to what Gareth Branwyn refers to as "interactional train wrecks":
"Keeping track of the action in these "orgy" situations can quickly get out of hand as participants simultaneously post descriptions, some of which will inevitably contradict other descriptions. To make this work effectively, all parties involved must work creatively around any discrepancies so that the eroticism and consistency of the story can be maintained. [example of group scenario] This give-and-take story-building process occurs in all on-line sex encounters regardless of style or number of partners. Multi-participant encounters were described as particularly difficult, however, since large numbers of people are making things up simultaneously. Interactional "train wrecks" are common."
Branwyn, Gareth. "Compu-Sex: Erotica for Cybernauts." (1993) 92.4 South Atlantic Quarterly 779-791.
Non-cooperative activities (such as combat) have always been regulated by the database/rulesystem, so as to avoid the “i shot you” “no you didn't” scenes familiar from childhood games. I know many of the the different MUDs/MOOs had tools integrated into them (such as the infamous Schmoos of LambdaMOO, and many FurryMUCK emotes...) to facilitate emoted sexual activity. Does anyone know of virtual worlds prior to Sociolotron where such behaviour was actually coded into the system layer?


haha, furrymuck. =( I had a friend that was into that and he was very disturbed. It consumed him, his whole personality changed in 6 months. I remember when he was just one of the guys, playing console games like Golden Eye and Mario Kart and bullshitting in general. After he found that community all he would talk about is mucking with foxes and all this weird shit, he was like 13 years old, it was really sad how obsessed he became.

As for Sociolotron, what if they hired phone sex operators that worked as GMs in the game and used built in voice-chat for communication. Of course, there would be a fee for their "special services." Maybe they could offer higher subscription models where players could run their own brothel establishments. It's possible that one of the Nevada brothels would be interested in this virtual world of erotica and expand their services into the game world. Imagine the famous Mustang or Chicken Ranch having a presence in their virtual world. They could even have some of the same girls that work at the ranch in real life participate and offer their services if they wanted too. They could also hold different types of roleplay events where GMs would pick a winner and give them some free time with multiple GMs. They could integrate and implement an extensive gambling system and offer automated rewards, players could earn credits for more of the "automated" explicit services. Not sure how popular a game like this would be, but there are enough eccentric perverts out there that it might gain a small niche in the market. Just some random thoughts. :)


"It does give new meaning to the 'grind'." - Damion Schubert

Wonderful quote. My quick opinion about why mainstream MMOGs haven't tried this: It gives you an M rating. That reduces your market pretty significantly, and most publishers are not willing to deal with a rating above Teen.

Also, since nobody seems to have mentioned it yet, Neocron had strippers. While that doesn't take it nearly as far as Sociolotron wants to, it is something.


It must be noted that Second Life has a rather disproportionate amount of sexual pleasure seekers abounding around in SL, compared to most other MMORPG's. It's not reported much, of course... don't want to tarnish the family image and all :)

The telltale sign is to go into any Mature rated Sim and peek into the houses; custom sex animations abound (sex beds, sex jacuzzis, sex fireplaces...),a nd there is a very vibrant "adult" community. Heck, half of the events listed on any given day are "adult" in nature; various fetishist groups and sex-oriented groups are among the largest in the SL world.

All of this is user-inspired and created, of course; this is just another example of if you give the players a creative inch, they up and take the whole mile.

Plus sex tends to drive the economy, and also speeds up innovation for the rest of us (custom animations didn't really take off until someone got the bright idea to make a bunch of naughty ones and made millions), kinda like Real Life.


Second Life not only has a vast array of sexual antics going on around the clock, but with user-created animations now possible, Second Life seems to be seeing major growth in the "adult" industry. It's getting to the point where there are possibly more "erotic" events scheduled than tame ones. A wide range of sexual tastes is catered to in Second Life thanks to user-created content.

As the Second Life Herald recently reported, a University of Chicago undergrad is currently researching the SL sex industry under the working title "The Red Pixel District."

Second Life resident Pirate Cotton posted a blog entry late last year giving a brief look at the various sexual activities going on.

Personally, I'm not brave enough to thoroughly investigate the sex industry in SL. Although I polled users about teh sex0rz last summer, I ended up doing a piece on body language instead. Most people weren't that interested in revealing their virtual bedroom behaviours at the time, but I suspect things have changed somewhat since then.


I find the sub-communities in SL endlessly fascinating, and this reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to post on for a while, so here is a rough cut version (sorry for the SL orientation of this post).

As Lordfly Digeridoo notes the prevalence of adult orientated content and activities is some what at odds with both SLs public “family image” and the vanilla community within SL.

Though we should not be surprised as if we look across so many areas of digital technology, the sex industry has been a major driver of innovation – streaming media, ecommerce, web hosting, DRM (friends in the biz tell me that DRM is helping commoditize the booming DIY p0rn community in Germany right now) and image compression (as people might know a standard image (“The Lenna image”) used by people into compression tech was of Lena Sjööblom taken from the Nov 1972 edition of playboy – I say taken as there were some legal scuffles over this).

A thing I’ve wondered about for a while is the mixing of communities. In SL there are different zones, some are ‘mature’ some are not. Now if one is in a non-mature zone it seems that opening a sex club or even having a bunch of fetish stuff in a house that can be publicly accessed would not be on. But I wonder about sexualised avatars.

OK, SL is an 18+ world so we should be able to assume that everyone is an adult, but I worry about whether it is acceptable or not to turn up to an everyday vanilla event using a furry or obviously BDSM orientated avi. On the whole I feel it would at least be courteous to have quick change vanilla uniform as it seems to me that avi’s that broadcast the sexual proclivities of the user do constitute ‘mature’ content, even if the user is not engaging in or even talking about said activities – I feel that the symbolic power of the avi is sufficient in and of itself.

Having said that, SLs teleport system is so instant and so used that it’s easy just not to notice when one is in a non-mature zone.

I’m desperately trying to think if this issue crosses other MMO but right now I can’t really think of broader examples.

FYI here’s my original TN post on Sociolotron “MMO Sex please we’re Avatars” terranova.blogs.com/terra_nova/2004/06/mmo_sex_please_.html which has some background on the world.


Ren, there appears to be some sensitivity to Mature vs. PG sims with regards to resident costumes. Residents will sometimes give a friendly reminder to tone down the language, behaviour, and/or garb. Teleports are instant, but so is the ability to change into something PG. I don't think it's much of an issue, but I don't spend as much time inworld as some folks.


Flip comment aside: one thing that really screws with the sex-based genre in general is realism overall. The Uncanny Valley (i.e. that space where art becomes so real it's kind of creepy) is going to become really problematic, not just for the character art, but also for the animations - having the same repeated animation over and over again is going to feel kinda creepy really fast.

The other thing is that it seems to be really difficult to know exactly where to draw the line. The recent Leisure Suit Larry was pinged for being mindless, the Guy Game for being overly crude and the Playboy game for being overly safe. The only people that seem to have gotten sex right is The Sims 2 (which is, ironically, the 'family friendly' game on the list).


Damion Schubert>The Uncanny Valley (i.e. that space where art becomes so real it's kind of creepy) is going to become really problematic, not just for the character art, but also for the animations

This is one area where text can win at the expense of graphics. I worked on developing an adult text MUD for a year during the dot com boom, and there were great possibilities - not least of which was the fact that pornographic images are illegal when pornographic text isn't. I did a pitch for the concept in the mid-1990s in the form of a mocked-up log.

In a world where people have fetishes about opera gloves, headphones and women whose cars are stuck in mud, perhaps text isn't all that bizarre after all.



Hmm... Some quick thoughts on this (somewhat disturbing) subject.

WoW would immediately become the haven for necrophiles (Forsaken sex!) and furries (Tauren WuBz0rz!).

Another thing that immediately springs to mind is how the internet has become overrun with prurient materials. Whereas the adult bookstore in town used to be a relatively small, secluded shop in a seedy area of town, in the "virtual town" of the internet the adult stores have taken over the middle of the malls and sit there, lights blazing. While this would definitely attract a "new element" to gaming, I'm not sure this is the element that game developers would desire to attract. As others have noted, keeping the kids out would prove difficult as well.

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