The largest pornography company in the world has set its sights on another industry: video games.
When the National Center on Sexual Exploitation first began looking into video games in 2013 the number of games with pornographic sexual violence were minimal. Even just 4-5 years ago, this trend was far from mainstream. However, in the past few years, sexually graphic content has skyrocketed on popular video game websites, such as on Steam which hosted approximately 780 games with nudity in 2017 but which now hosts over 1,600 games with nudity in 2018.
The pornography industry is now working to take advantage of this complete shift in the video game industry. MindGeek, owner of a multitude of top pornography sites and studios, started an online pornographic video game distribution platform. This platform is named Nutaku, which is Internet slang for a gamer who is obsessed with anime. This insidious title could likely cause people to stumble across the pornographic game website by accident while they sought out other anime content, an art genre that’s becoming increasingly popular among children and teens.
The website offers both paid and free-to-play games that include uncensored sex, nudity, and other pornograhpic themes. With over 100 million monthly visits, it is the largest distributor of pornographic video games.
Why Pornographic Video Games Are Harmful
Porn games don’t simply contain sex or nudity. Rather, they are much more graphic. Some of these games promote sexual harassment and assault, including “pressured sexual relationships” and “abusive marriages”.
Despite being cartoons, the graphic content in these games is far from harmless. Fight The New Drug provides a detailed explanation of how animated porn and regular porn are inseparable. Animated porn fuels sexual addiction and shapes sexual palettes just as regular porn does. Animated porn also isn’t limited to reality; moulding sexual desire towards an unrealizable fantasy. It’s time we recognize that animated, or cartoon, porn present in video games is equally as harmful as regular porn.
Free But Costly
As mentioned, this distributor also offers free-to-play games. As a result, many young kids have easier access to pornographic content. Some gamers who have defended recent pornographic games releases argue that paywalls prevent access by children. To buy these games, you need a credit card, which kids won’t have access to without their parents permission. With free-to-play games, however, this “credit card shield” doesn’t exists. Parents no longer have the ability to closely protect their children from inappropriate content. Reasonable gamers must unite in recognizing children are facing a greater risk of expose to deeply inappropriate content through sites such as this.
The rise of the website has been unprecedented. From April to August 2018, its web traffic more than doubled from 50 million to 115 million visits. As a result, it has shot up in web rankings. Based on stats from SimilarWeb, the website ranks in the top 500 websites in the world, and top 300 in the United States.
Mass Media Attention
How could a pornographic video game distributor grow so large, and so quickly? This exponential growth is likely due to the attention it’s received in mass media. The website has appeared in articles by Forbes, The Sun, Yahoo, Wired, and a multitude of other major publications. They even sponsored a gaming video by PewDiePie, the world’s top YouTuber with 66 million subscribers.
For a website dealing in a very specific (and graphic) niche, it’s coverage by major publications is surprising. It seemingly rose out of nowhere. Suddenly, it was appearing in top publications. They must have a talented PR team.
However, once one realizes the site is owned by the world’s largest porn company, the picture becomes clear. This porn company is an industry behemoth. It should come as no surprise that their subsidiary company receives mass media attention. A major focus for their company has always been PR. A focus which clearly extends to their video game subsidiary.
Funding More Pornographic Games
The video game company isn’t merely a video game distributor. It also focuses on growing the pornographic gaming industry through investing in game studios. In a statement to the press, they wrote, “To date, [our company] has invested over $30 million in indie, startup and international gaming studios and developers who are producing high quality adult gaming titles.”
For a three year-old startup, their $30 million industry investment is staggering. The porn industry clearly believes video games are an important target for their overall business model. With this amount of funding, we should expect the number of pornographic titles to increase significantly in the coming years.
The Impact on the Mainstream Video Game Industry
Steam, the largest online video game distributor, has received much attention regarding its store content guidelines. In 2018, Steam earned a spot on our Dirty Dozen List for promoting sexual exploitation. Steam recently announced that it would allow any content that’s not “illegal” or “trolling”. Not long afterwards, Steam approved it’s first “100% uncensored” porn game.
Although Steam and the porn game distributor are competitors, the newer site’s success will likely benefit pornographic games on Steam. As already stated, the porn game company isn’t merely selling pornographic games, it’s trying to promote the genre. As funding floods into pornographic game developers, many more will see Steam’s open-door policy as an avenue for increased exposure. Already, there are games cross-listed on both stores.
As the genre grows, more games will be available on Steam, resulting in the mainstreaming of objectifying sexual content.
The Future of Gaming
Sexual content in video games is not a new phenomenon. However, there has been a noticeable shift from graphic content to purposefully pornographic content. This platform promotes games with the explicit purpose to combine pornography with video games.
The biggest issue of concern should be the normalization of objectification and sexual violence in video games. Once restricted to a few extreme titles, graphic sexuality has slowly crept into mainstream AAA releases, such as The Witcher and Mass Effect series.
With major porn industry players behind the reigns, we should only expect to see pornographic video games become more common.
The porn industry is deliberately targeting the video game industry and its time for all socially conscious gamers to take a stand and refuse to play degrading, pornographic games.