There is a massive audience for pornography, and therefore a massive audience-in-waiting for adult video games.
Welcome to BONETOWN. Quite a buzz has been brewing over a new video game called (NSFW!!) BoneTown (Really, NSFW!!) released by D-Dub Software. Many people, especially the anti-pornography crowd, will find the contents of this game offensive and I wouldn’t disagree with them. However, this is about so much more than an offensive title. BoneTown is to adult gaming what GTA is to Mature audiences, and while I don’t agree with the game or its contents, I find myself at an impasse. Do I stand up with the millions of people who are offended, and try to calm the crowd, or do I stand up for what I believe in; that games are a source of free expression that should not be limited by judgmental minds?
In all reality the simple answer to the offended crowd is to steer clear of content you don’t approve of. Much like the movie industry, many reels have been created that the general public wouldn’t choose to watch (or allow their children to watch), which is why we have a rating system. You’re required to be a certain age to watch certain movies, at which point you have free will to do so or not. So why don’t we hear about the latest porno director being held by a mob because they don’t agree with his or her latest concept? Because the rating systems keeps people shielded from the things they don’t want to see. At least, that is the intent.
Video games should be no different. Even though BoneTown looks like trash, it is accomplishing something groundbreaking. The only way it can be purchased offline is through an adult video store, and the only way it can be purchased online is through the same distribution methods that are employed by alcohol and tobacco companies. These methods include more than just a simple credit card number for the transaction to go through. In fact, Verated Technologies has created an AgeMatch Age Verification Solution which “.. is aimed at achieving a balance between assisting parents in the overwhelming task of protecting their children from age sensitive content, products and services, while preserving reasonable access to those of legal age,” in the words of Verated President Pattie Dillon. Verated has long served the online alcohol and tobacco industries with D-Dub Software being the first company to acquire their use for video games.
“We know that BoneTown is a hardcore adult game, and it’s not meant for kids, but with the huge demand for adult games the video game world really needs to find a way to get them out there. Hopefully this can help. Maybe once they realize that we’ve found a way to sell our products safely, they’ll be willing to accept us, and someday this method of distribution could become the standard for Adults Only games.” said Hod, CEO of D-Dub Software.
With that in mind, the real focus here shouldn’t be on the lack of quality gaming produced by D-Dub Software, the real focus should be on the protection through which it is sold. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony all have online distribution that could easily plug into age verification software, which means that any AO game could be sold in an Adults Only store. If D-Dub Software succeeds with their adult verification system, then we as gamers could see freedom of development like we have never seen before. For better or for worse? You be the judge.
UPDATE: Even in the span of hours since this article was drafted, D-Dub Software have changed their homepage from an NC17-Rated trailer to a very cautious age-gate landing page.