Does This New Virtual Reality Girlfriend Take Things Too Far?

Drawing the line when it comes to fake women in 3D games.

Japanese game developers Up Frontier showcased a shocking new game specially created for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset at the Oculus Rift Festival held in Japan this month.

The game features a young Asian woman whom the gamer can play with, not only in virtual reality form, but in semi real-life form as well. The game comes complete with a pair of fake breasts made out of mousepad material (yes, you read that right!). Users can fondle and squeeze the fake bust to their hearts’ content.

For those who are itching for the chance to see, interact with, and feel a fake woman, this is the perfect combination of fake and real all rolled up into one neat little package.

However, it’s not so great for the fake girl it seems. In the YouTube video below that shows the game in action, the player treats the girl like an object—prodding and groping her roughly. Upon squeezing her foam breasts, she squeals uncomfortably while the gamer barely notices her reaction.

The exchange does not look consensual.

Yet, some would argue the girl is not a living, breathing human, so what’s the harm?

There may seem to be no real injury done, but it’s not just the girl’s uncomfortable reactions that are questionable. The game sends mixed signals about what women want and how they should be treated. Later on in the game, writer Kelly Hurcomb explains, the virtual girl will “round-house kick players who stray too far from her side while exploring the digital universe.”

On the one hand, the girl doesn’t enjoy being touched. But on the other, she doesn’t want the gamer to stray from her side. What is this teaching gamers about the way women should be treated?

Lately, there’s been a bigger turn toward virtual reality adult entertainment—an increase we can largely attribute to Oculus Rift. So shouldn’t it be more important that virtual women are portrayed and treated exactly how real women should be portrayed and treated—with fairness and equality? Shouldn’t these gamers be prompted to ask the girl if she would like to be fondled?

Up Frontier previously released a VR program, also for the Oculus Rift, that simulated a girl’s lap for gamers to lie down on. This was innocent enough, but this new invention hardly seems women-friendly.

Fellow Future of Sex writer Hugo Gray brought up similar issues in a recent article on using robots to treat sex offenders. While there are benefits to using new technologies to satisfy eclectic desires, he said, we must also consider the downsides.

It’s true that recent technological advances are now able to fulfill almost all of our fantasies. However, we should keep a keen eye out for the programs and games that may be hinting to users that they can treat women unfairly. There is a fine line here and this new virtual girlfriend seems to be crossing it and not looking back.

Still, poll results from the Mirror Online show almost half of readers don’t believe the game encourages sexual assault against women. What do you think?

Image source: Nitori Kawashiro