Sex is something that has been taboo in videogames pretty much since their invention. Videogames were initially seen as a ‘children’s product’ and as such, sex was strictly forbidden. As the world and computers evolved, the average gamer is 31 and there are more gamers over the age of 36 than there are between 18 to 35. Less than 20% are under 18 years — and yet to ‘protect’ younger people from the horrors of seeing bodies like their own unclothed, we have completely banned any form of suggestive sexual behavior nevermind hardcore sex. It is best to keep those young minds pure and focused only on violence and killing. But there is one factor in 2019 going forward which is doing far more to keep sex out of video games than anything else: YouTube.
You see, gaming on YouTube represents 364 Billion views! 15% of all YouTube videos are videogame related. The vast majority of these videos (90%) are voluntarily created by enthusiastic YouTubers who are inspired by the game.
And this is the problem.
That is an absolutely staggering amount of free advertising for these games. But what happens when a YouTuber reviews a video game where there is graphic violence or even mildly suggestive sexual behavior? The video is harshly demonetized. YouTube considers it ‘not advertiser friendly’ and POOF! All the money that you might make from creating a video disappears. And since YouTube is THE major source of advertising for video games these days (364 Billion views absolutely crushes Twitch or any other format) — and so any game that doesn’t comply to YouTube’s draconian, puritan standards is downgraded in peoples feeds, meaning people don’t see them suggested so the views go way down. If creators see their videos don’t make any money and barely get any views, well then, they are simply going to stop making such videos and switch to PG videogames like Stardew Valley.
All of this is part of a vicious cycle. The game studios will see that R-rated or even X-rated games are getting next to no attention and video views — so nobody knows they exist and they don’t buy them. If people don’t buy the games, the studios will stop making them entirely. The free advertising that YouTube provides videogames simply dwarfs the most extensive paid advertising budget. So if the game CAN’T gain traction on YouTube because YouTube is a sensitive little snowflake — then YouTube itself becomes the devout Christian parent dictating what videogames you can play — as videogames with sexuality will simply not be made.
This is a completely messed up situation. The internet is a massive information exchange network allowing the flow of ideas, news, events and communication at nearly instantaneous speed across the entire planet. And on top of this amazing network are the enormous parasites (Google, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon) which feed off of this flow of data and now they are directing that flow and using algorithms to shape what we see. It doesn’t matter if 80% of gamers are over 18 and most of them are sexually active and perfectly willing to experience a well executed game that features sex as a healthy part of life — the ‘advertiser friendly’ content must take precedence over peoples wants and desires.
Big Brother is watching. And he doesn’t want you to be looking at sex. I recently did a post on the X-rated video game Subverse and we will see exactly how YouTube handles it — and how much traction that game can gain. It is an interesting time. But I have a feeling that while the game is inventive, well executed and the only one of its kind to include graphic sex…I bet YouTube actively buries almost everything to do with it.