Here’s part two of the sex tech we really, really want.
In part one of this short look at some sex tech innovations, we looked at the hardware side of things—from groundbreaking haptic suits to the possibility of one day using sound to give holograms a sense of reality—and then a wish list for developers to consider.
But where we are seeing some truly amazing sexual technology breakthroughs is in the less, shall we say, substantial world of software.
You know when the floodgates have really opened when, for our fast-paced contemporary world, standbys like Second Life have well-established sexual playgrounds: a long history of virtual orgies, BDSM dungeons, fetish fairs, alternative sexuality domains, or just good old-fashioned digital hookups.
We have erotic MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games), virtual marriages, artificial reality sex partners… it’s truly an exciting time to be playing in this digital era.
Welcome to the pleasuredome
As the place for future sex tech news and entertainment, naturally we here at Future of Sex have been reporting on some of these bleeding edge virtual developments.
– We’ve covered that thriXXX has added a whole new, and very physical, dimension to its Chathouse 3D Roulette by linking its sex game to Kiiroo’s sex toys
– Jenna Owsianik wrote about how these new virtual worlds are changing the very definition of intimacy.
– And we reported on some of the best adult MMOs out there: from 3DXChat [NSFW] to Red Light Center [NSFW] to the already mentioned Chathouse 3D Roulette [NSFW]
But the sky is no limit
Hardware can be a lot of fun—I have a rather intimate relationship with my iPhone for instance—but every piece of technology has an intrinsic limitation.
Not true with software. In fact, there is practically no limit to what a program can accomplish—given enough code and processing power.
In fact, as I’ve said here on Future of Sex several times, the creation—or birth, if you want to metaphysical—of true artificial intelligence is not a matter of if but when.
While we may have to wait a bit for a truly intelligent and interactive playmate, that doesn’t mean developers can’t expand their horizons a bit with their visions for virtual sex tech games and entertainments.
A lot of the current shortcomings with software sex tech can mostly be attributed to a lack of quality. Okay, developers like Rockstar (the Grand Theft Auto series of games), Infinity Ward (Call Of Duty), and Bethesda (Fallout) have massive studios and thousands of employees—and astronomical budgets—but that doesn’t mean that adult MMOs and game studios shouldn’t try and push the limit.
After all, some truly amazing games have been created with little more than a really good computer, some long days and nights, and a lot of imagination. The online game marketplace Steam has long been seen as a test bed for all kinds of titles. Just, sadly, not really erotic ones.
What we need is a kind of erotic version of Steam: a venue to support independent adult game developers. Part of this, of course, is cultural. Other countries (I’m looking at you, Japan) have never scrimped on quality when it comes to their erotic games. In fact, major Japanese studios and developers work on both adult and so-called mainstream titles simultaneously.
Just imagine a game that is actually for adults, and not just because of violence. Some game modders have come close, with tweaks to titles like Skyrim, but nudes of fetish skins are not the same as a game designed while a whole range of interactivity —even sexual ones.
As any gamer can tell you it’s frustrating—if not offensive—that Fallout players can reduce a supermutant to a gory fountain of tomato sauce in one moment, but the moment they get intimate with a NPC (Non-Player Character) the game fades to black.
Maybe it’s too much to ask to have sex in our games, but we may be seeing a lean in that direction with titles like The Witcher 3, where at least sex can be seen—if only to a limited extent.
This quality problem is also true for MMOs. It’s time for a huge upgrade in quality of visuals and performance Far too many adult virtual worlds look like the CGI scenes from The Lawnmower Man (1992). Okay, that might be a bit harsh but the fact remains that many of them seriously need an upgrade.
What we need is some investing in quality, both in playability as well as aesthetics: digital domains that run smooth, that look rich and full, and really give the player a sense of entering a new, and sensual, world.
The other place where erotic games, as well as MMOs, have been lacking is in imagination. This is particularly odd as—and here I go again—there is almost no limit to what you can create digitally. As we are seeing huge leaps in both technology as well as the acceptance of it, now is the time to create wildly unique erotic vistas to go along with the quality of the experience.
As someone with a (blush) tad amount of experience in erotica, I’d love to have a hand in making a completely new and unique MMO. One that isn’t just recycled fantasy worlds, clones of The Sims, or ugly virtual bordellos.
Why not make a game or MMO that actually uses our current technological limitations? Many styles of animation look great at even low processing power. Putting aside the obvious of Japanese erotic animation, why not create a whole new art style virtual world, one perhaps based on outrageous adult comics, or even one inspired by older media like 1980s style cartoons?
This might be overly simplistic, but I really feel that often the only thing holding us down from creating totally original erotic digital entertainments is hesitancy—that many are not willing to take risks.
Agreed, there might be a few hardware roadblocks to huge endeavors, like money, but lots of people have made some absolutely remarkable works of art, both erotic and not, working with the simplest of tools.
Eventually, though, I also believe that the floodgates will open. We’ve seen trickles of this as small software studios making remarkably beautiful games, as well as businesses recognizing that MMOs and such really are the next step in digital erotic entertainment.
And when those floodgates do open, when we are able to sample software experiences limited only by the creators’ imaginations, then things will really get interesting—and not just sexually.
Image Sources: Imelda Whitfield, Jamie