Market Size for Pervy Games?

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#1 Posted by ghost_cat (2290 posts) -

Seeing as how there are a ton of pervy games out there, Steam store and beyond, I was curious: is the customer base for these games actually much larger than what we may perceive in our minds? Is that base growing, or has it always been that large?

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#2 Posted by NotSoSneakyGuy (230 posts) -

This is probably a question that is hard to get a good answer for.

The ESRB AO rating is practically useless, as anyone who would expect an AO for their game, would not bother paying money to get it rated. That leaves games rated M with sexual themes basically, you can probably look up NPD sales numbers/achievements/steam for those.

I'm not aware of any publishers who specialize in games with explicit sexual content. I'm pretty sure no one is will to take the cumulative heat of that, and no one wants to split the money in a niche market. That only leaves self publishing, which I would hazard a guess to say that's the majority/de facto. I doubt you would be able to find a good aggregate for these numbers.

Would you count mobile and web only games? The major mobile app stores ban explicit sex I think, but there are probably games probably equivalent to M rated. Web browser only stuff is probably immeasurable, due to the sheer amount and age of the internet.

With the raise of crowdfunding, and video game audiences being the biggest it's ever been, there are tons of indie games with explicit sex/nudity in development.

Horny games are hardly new as well, I just looked up Softporn Adventure, released in '81. So the demand has always been there in some fashion.

If you asked me, I would say it's about what I expected, and as video games have grown, it has grown proportionally.

There's never been a better time to play pervy games.

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#3 Posted by soimadeanaccount (624 posts) -

I just view it as Steam is a platform that is popular and "accepts" them, and from a developer stand point rather than selling them through obscure channel there's this tried and true platform. Plus a lot of them comes from other countries where buying and selling is probably harder internationally, and Steam also got most of that covered.

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#4 Posted by cikame (2865 posts) -

I imagine the budget for developing a porny game is relatively low since really the art is the major component, as such you wouldn't need a ton of sales to turn a profit.
I don't know how big the market is, there's probably also a bit of a divide when it comes to taste, 3D, 2D, dating sim, visual novel, instant... uh... "action", i don't think there's one market for all those things. I imagine the most successful pervy games is the Senran Kagura series with thousands of positive reviews on Steam, but there's appeal to those games outside of just its sexy content.

Just innocent dance choreography
Just innocent dance choreography
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#5 Posted by dudeglove (13768 posts) -

Seeing as how there are a ton of pervy games out there, Steam store and beyond, I was curious: is the customer base for these games actually much larger than what we may perceive in our minds? Is that base growing, or has it always been that large?

I completely forget where I read or heard this, but I remember a story about one IP in Japan (maybe?), and they had a limited run of 1000 or so things for some adult-oriented game (possibly a preorder or a crowdfunding tier) and the reason for that was precisely because the devs damn near knew the exact number of people who would buy the ludicrous collectors edition based on previous sales and it netted them an all-but-guaranteed 5-6 figure sum.

As to your second question, I mean yes? As games slowly start exploring other things that aren't just about shooting dudes, you're going to see more people drawn to things that tap into that thirst. Look at the success of Kitfox Games' Boyfriend Dungeon recent kickstarter (which if you pay closer attention to is an extremely good case study in how to run a KS campaign), or Dream Daddy as softer examples.

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#6 Posted by ThePanzini (742 posts) -

A lot of adult games tend to be dating sims and visual novels, your typical AAA game will have nowhere near the sexual content you'll see in something like Game of Thrones. Considering gaming tends to skew young adult male Its not hard to imagine a much bigger audience being out there. The Subverse kickstarter is good example.

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#7 Edited by gkhan (1098 posts) -

I'm curious about something, and I don't want to google this question or look into Steam for an answer, so I'll just ask it here: how pervy are these Steam games actually? Like, are they "suggestive" (e.g. anime ladies with big knockers in bikinis playing volleyball and maybe boning you but you don't get to see close-ups), or are they just straight-up pornography in game form?

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#8 Posted by Efesell (4541 posts) -

@gkhan said:

I'm curious about something, and I don't want to google this question or look into Steam for an answer, so I'll just ask it here: how pervy are these Steam games actually? Like, are they "suggestive" (e.g. anime ladies with big knockers in bikinis playing volleyball and maybe boning you but you don't get to see close-ups), or are they just straight-up pornography in game form?

I mean all those RPG maker lookin' games are all just straight porn with everything cut out to be allowed on Steam and then they just offer a restore patch somewhere else when you buy it.

The stuff from bigger established companies is usually just suggestive.

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#9 Posted by gkhan (1098 posts) -

@efesell: So that's how they get around whatever standards Valve has? Offer free "porn it up" patches on their own websites? Clever! I'm surprised Valve lets them get away with that. Or, actually, I guess I'm not very surprised.

I feel like there should be a legitimate marketplace for this stuff. It's just porn, people should be able to buy and sell it if they want to. I don't know if Steam is the right place (and the system they have now seems a bit... weird), but it should exist somewhere.

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#10 Posted by FacelessVixen (2640 posts) -

Large enough to where things like Senran Kagura, HuniePop, Nekopara, and the various Winged Cloud visual novels hold some weight in the conversation. But still very niche in the grand scheme, which is still very much for the best.

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#11 Posted by MagnetPhonics (84 posts) -

@ghost_cat: It's always been big. It's now just slightly less difficult to visibly make money off it. It's not the only "niche" that games coverage and/or GB specifically has a blind-spot to either.

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#12 Posted by someoneproud (607 posts) -

There's always been a market for it, they've been around for a long time and steam has just recently raised awareness to a few of them. I can't think of a truly high budget 'AAA' example but there are shit tons of pervy games out there if you know where to look.

It is niche but no more niche than say strategy games, it's just that very few are visibly marketed/exposed in the west.

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#13 Posted by Efesell (4541 posts) -

@gkhan said:

@efesell: So that's how they get around whatever standards Valve has? Offer free "porn it up" patches on their own websites? Clever! I'm surprised Valve lets them get away with that. Or, actually, I guess I'm not very surprised.

I feel like there should be a legitimate marketplace for this stuff. It's just porn, people should be able to buy and sell it if they want to. I don't know if Steam is the right place (and the system they have now seems a bit... weird), but it should exist somewhere.

Well there's plenty of places they're sold as is but Steam is still Steam, that's a lot of potential eyes even if weird workarounds are involved.

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#14 Posted by geirr (3775 posts) -

Sex has never dropped in popularity so I'll just guess that yes, there's a big market for it.

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#15 Posted by frytup (1334 posts) -

The straight-up porn games tend to be kept in business by Patreon and the like. They don't necessarily need a market beyond their monthly supporters.

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#16 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1377 posts) -

The market for porn games fluctuates by +/- 1 depending on how drunk I am.

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#17 Posted by llyama (10 posts) -
@frytup said:

The straight-up porn games tend to be kept in business by Patreon and the like. They don't necessarily need a market beyond their monthly supporters.

Yep. Patreon seems to be the way to make money for western developers.

The 3rd highest earner on all of Patreon is for a porn game. Making $50k a month.

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#18 Edited by konig_kei (1030 posts) -

Sort Skyrim mods by popularity. I think that says enough.

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#19 Edited by Nicholas_Attano (19 posts) -

Most pervy games available on the market look trash to be honest and I don't think they sell well. Slooty mods for certain games like the ones from Bethesda got a HUGE community and market for it though and a lot of them can beat any of those anime fanservice games easily quality wise. I don't think people look for games like these but modify pre-existing games instead.

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#20 Posted by someoneproud (607 posts) -

Most pervy games available on the market look trash to be honest and I don't think they sell well. Slooty mods for certain games like the ones from Bethesda got a HUGE community and market for it though and a lot of them can beat any of those anime fanservice games easily quality wise. I don't think people look for games like these but modify pre-existing games instead.

This is true of the sort of thing you might find on Steam/Patreon but there are a few notable examples that you won't find there that blow those mods out of the water and a massive community of people that are into them. The market for saucy mods is a reflection of a much larger market for adult games generally, people just don't tend to talk about them and pretty much no-one covers/promotes them atm.

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#21 Posted by FacelessVixen (2640 posts) -

@konig_kei said:

Sort Skyrim mods by popularity. I think that says enough.

On LoversLab, sure.

But looking on Nexus Mods as of this post, not necessarily, oddly enough. It's the quality-of-life mods that are getting the most overall downloads and endorsements, and the reality of how CBBE is actually used is that it's basically middleware to facilitate modded clothing, hair styles and tattoos; same for Fallout 4 for that matter.

But hey, shout out to MxR.

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#22 Posted by ninnanuam (584 posts) -

In Japan there are whole rooms in regular game stores (like Trader) filled with porn games.

In the west its a bit weird, if we had the regular distribution channels open it would probably be just as big as it is in Japan, but its still weirdly segmented and boutique (and really amateur).

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#23 Posted by charlie_victor_bravo (1713 posts) -

Seeing the production sizes, I would estimate that paying market size is very small relative to the main stream games. However, pervy games (or at least somewhat successful ones) tend aim at some specific niche. For example there are few "date your NOT real mom" on Patreon that pull €50.000 a month despite having just around 5500 patreons. That said, why we are seeing more of pervy games is because it requires lower effort over all. Game doesn't really need to be that good (for now, this will change as more products enter the market) or that big in regards of to content and lastly since market is smaller, your product will stand out bit more (especially if you aim for specific kink).

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#24 Posted by Sergiy (56 posts) -

Well, there is a reason Steam made game libraries private, so people would be more open to buying these without shame.

VR is also a thing! I think the Oculus has its own store with with some special stuff on it.

As for the actual popularity of these I've been wondering this myself, are these legitimate games or just low-effort flash games made to generate trading cards?

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#25 Posted by FacelessVixen (2640 posts) -

@sergiy said:

As for the actual popularity of these I've been wondering this myself, are these legitimate games or just low-effort flash games made to generate trading cards?

Column A, column B. Some are backed by legit publishers and developers, such as Idea Factory, Xseed and Tamsoft. Some are indie developed passion projects by those I'll call "Patreon artists." And some are really just low effort cash-grabs that probably should have stayed on Newgrounds.

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#26 Posted by Sweetz (1177 posts) -

I think there's a big market there that is actually massively underserved due to most porn games being not particularly good games. I think there are a lot of people clamoring for a game with porn content that is actually also a decent playing traditional game (i.e. not a visual novel or casual puzzle game).

Evidence: the pretty remarkable Kickstarter success of Subverse (NSFW obvs). People throwing $2 million at a basically completely unproven game development team is crazy.

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#27 Posted by Craigieboy (116 posts) -

Not strictly related but I find the idea of a porn game counterproductive since your hands are usually 'occupied' for you to also be playing a game.