MMOrgy: Better Sex Thru MMOG or MMOVSG?
Originally written by Isabelle Pavlova for mmorgy.com
As the popularity of Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) rises, we see interesting genres appearing through the new independant games. While the bulk of online gaming still lies within the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPG, i.e. World of Warcraft, Anarchy Online, Phantasy Star Online, etc...), we now have Virtual Worlds (Second Life, There, The Sims Online, etc...), Massively Multiplayer Puzzle Games (Puzzle Pirates), and even Massively Multiplayer Spreadsheets (EVE). Sex has shown up in all of these games in one way or another, but there have only been a few games with small player bases that really feature sex as the main aspect Sociolotron is one, but the general topic is outside of the usual gamer or sexually active person's... interests. Seducity is another, but really, who plays Seducity?
3Feel (The only MMOVSG in development with screenshots, currently)
In the next year, many companies will (hopefully) be releasing a new type of game known as the Massively Multiplayer Online Virtual Sex Game, or MMOVSG. Here's a list of a few that are currently in the works:
So, what will MMOVSGs bring us that we can't currently get with other worlds? Why should we throw down even more hard earned money when we can just watch a Dark Elf gyrate for a while and then go level grind some more? In this article, we go over some of the pros and cons of what MMOVSGs can present for the lonely/horny(/both) gamer.
Now, all of the points about to be made are purely the opinion of the author. MMOVSGs really don't exist yet, so there's no facts to hold up what is about to be said. All of these are merely thoughts formed by what I know of the games from reading press releases, websites, talking to developers, and running the premier site on MMO Sex. So at least I have a little experience to speak from.
Pro: Concentration on Sex...
In a "regular" MMOG, the best you're going to find in terms of sex is "emergent sex". This means that players/users/beings/whatever your world calls them have figured out some way to have sex in the world, using implements not originally planned (or at least, not annouced) by the developers of the game. Depends on the quality of user content generation in the world, emergent sex can be as little as characters bumping into each other while having text cybersex, all the way up to full animations, toys, and elaborate scenes, like some of the Virtual Worlds feature.
Therefore, if you want sex, and you want it NOW, an MMOVSG will be the place to be. It's got sex in the name, so you know that when you log on, you're going to be pretty much instantly presented with a world of people also looking for sex, and with some sort of basic ability to engage in sexual activity.
Con: But what if, god forbid, I don't wanna fuck?
However, once sex is over, in other games, you can go back to building, leveling, killing, or whatever your fancy may be. In a virtual sex game, you can have... more sex. Now, granted, most people aren't gonna be pleasuring themselves physically with every single encounter in a VSG, and I know quite a few who could happily go on forever just sexing and sexing and sexing. However, they are very much the minority in terms of people who are going to play these games. So how long will the average play session last? A game where every man is on for a grand total of 2 minutes at a time could get a little schizophrenic.
Pro: Removing the Learning/Cost Curve...
Emergent sex requires knowledge of the world. You have to know where is appropriate to go to find sex, otherwise you end up walking around screaming "HOW I MINE 4 FISH" and looking like a damn n00b.
If user content is sold, it could quite possibly cost real money to engage in. Sure, you can bump smooth crotches all day long, but at some point, you're actually going to want to invest in real genetalia to deepen the experience. This can be a costly endeavor, meaning having to throw down extra cash in addition to monthly fees. Beyond that, customer care is on the head of the content creator, not the development studio, meaning if something breaks, and the user isn't around, oh well.
In VSGs, or at least, one would figure in VSGs, there will be some sort of developer supported sexual contact and content. There will always be some way (if not multiple ways) of having sex built into the game, so it's not something you'll have to worry about.
Con: What about after I find someone?
But assuming you're not one of those people in a v2.0 relationship (I hate hipsters and I hate their versionizing of everything, but damn if I'm not writing for a blog right now and am therefore a hipster. Irony ahoy!), what happens if you actually find someone local through a game? What if you hit it off and form a real relationship? Do you really need a VSG anymore?
This goes back to the first con, sort of. With regular MMO's, assuming you do find or have a significant other, you can go on through the game together, doing things that are not necessarily romantic/sex events. In a VSG, you're there to meet people or fuck, and when you're successful to the point of finding a monogamous relationship, you've technically "won" the game. A winnable MMO is obviously not a stable revenue stream.
Finally, what happens to platonic relationships in the event of a real relationship forming? Once you create platonic relationships in a VSG, you will still want to keep them, but being in the world requires you to be immersed in a player base of cruisers, which is a potentially awkward situation.
Pro: A Wonderland for Long Distance Relationships...
The last con applies to people that have been lucky enough to find someone in their accessable geographic area. For everyone else who's decided that the one they love needs to be across a massive body of water or similarly unnavigable mass, VSGs become the romantic walk in the park they can't have in real life. Long distance relationships will no longer be kept to video, audio, and text chat, as people can now meet in the virtual world meant for love.
Con: You can't please everyone all the time...
Lots of people visit virtual worlds in order to try new types of experiences that they either don't quite feel ready for or simply don't have access to in real life. For instance, not everyone wants to instantly visit their local BDSM club and be hooked up to electrodes after seeing an episode of Real Sex on BDSM (with hippies. Always with the hippies on the Real Sex) that made them feel a bit randy. They can use virtual worlds to explore with the safety of the ultimate safe word, the off button on their computer.
Translating a wealth of fetish experiences into a world will be especially difficult for development studios. Sure, not everyone will want inflatable pony gear, but there's a minority of people that need it as a requirement. Making the tools to make EVERY sexual fantasy possible requires the creation of virtual world type software, which oversteps the development bounds and goals of a VSG. However, finding the niches that need to be filled in order for VSGs not to become the "vanilla missionary position" of the sex game player's world will be a tough task.
Pro: Everyone is there for the Same Reason...
It's pretty obvious that all users of a MMOVSG are there to meet other people, and probably have sex with them. Therefore, while it's still quite possible to offend people, the chances of that happening won't actually be quite as large as a world where the user is looking to get off while most everyone else is looking to kill dragons.
Drilling down a bit farther on this topic, there will also be portions of the world explicitly for dating, sexing, and portions in between. Inquiring in one portion of these worlds about another portion won't draw the weird looks and attention that it might in another world. It's the difference between walking into a swingers club and asking where the find a nice christian girl dating service, versus going into a church and asking where they keep the leather daddy fuck pigs.
Con: When love gets in the way...
Unfortunatly, when everyone is looking for love (either physical or emotional), it means that everyone is looking for love. Finding basic conversation in these worlds might be difficult, as everyone is obviously there with a goal. The "chance encounter" date, which is usually much less awkward than the "made for dating" situations.
Going back to an earlier point, this can become an issue when you finally do meet someone and become monogamous. Sure, you'll have friends in the world, but you'll also have to deal with the roving hoards of lonely bastards in order to interact with them. Will the non-swinging "settled" person be looked upon as the lower-class minority?
I could be completely wrong...
There's no way to back these ideas up yet. We'll just have to see what happens when MMOVSGs make their way out into the commercial space. I'll be happy to eat my words if the cons don't come true, and I'll be glad if the pros work out. People meeting up, having sex, and building relationships is always a good thing (except for when it isn't), and I have no secret hopes or beliefs that lend themselves to the absolute failure of this genre. I just enjoy playing armchair game designer every so often, and when there's a new type of game on the horizon, I like to get my words in before more experience, knowledgable people start to speak up.
After some MMOVSGs come out, we'll revisit this article and see how my ideas fared.