It was… contentious.
The infamous Hot Coffee mod from 2004’s GTA: San Andreas drew the spiteful attention of none other than Hillary Clinton and served as the catalyst for the deliciously Orwellian 'Family Entertainment Protection Act' of 2005.
It was arguably the biggest scandal of the 6th generation of consoles, the end result of which saw Take-Two (GTA’s babydaddy) dutifully put their tail between their legs, pull their paws out of the simulated sex cookie jar and put their efforts back into simulated torture, murder and old-fashioned titillation where it belongs.
Tell us again how this first simulation is somehow more offensive than the one of Trevor pulling out an informant's teeth?
Between then and now I’ve unhooked Madison Paige’s bra (after about a thousand tries), fondled full frontal strippers as Michael De Santa, been through a legitimately sexually confusing rigmarole in Mass Effect, and watched Aphrodite seduce Kratos in a scene that put Sharon Stone right to shame.
Hot Coffee ain’t got nothing on 2014, but despite the loosening of the puritanical ethos over the last decade the line between the “tasteful” sexual depictions and good old fashioned “pornography” hasn’t been crossed.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy porn on your console, but no 'official' console product has been created for the expressed and sole objective of sexual arousal. Sony and Microsoft seem to tolerate its existence, but have yet to fully come right out and walk hand-in-hand in the sun with the adult film industry.
This is incidental evidence.
There are plenty of weathervanes that suggest that might change. You don’t need Larry Flynt’s imagination to figure which way the wind is blowing. Take the Kinect, toss in the Occulus Rift, multiply the whole thing with a Fleshlight and the future takes a very, very distinct shape.
We’re headed for a facsimile reasonable enough to keep a significant segment of the population indoors for decades at a time. All morality aside (naturally), we’re on the eve of a societal shift. You think the Internet is distracting now, wait untill hand-crafted video game content is being produced by the adult film industry.
It’s significant, because while demand for adult content is consistent, the bottom has fallen out of the traditional porn business model. Performers, distributors and auteurs alike are bemoaning a once lucrative industry that’s been chopped off at the knees by Tube sites and the internet’s young second act.
Anybody with an iPhone and a college within twenty miles can churn out porn faster than you can say Linda Lovelace, and nobody with 'normal' pornographic needs has to pay for anything beyond their neighbors wifi password.
To an industry that once played kingmaker to Blu-Ray, this tech doesn’t represent a lifeline, it represents a new frontier where the financial entrance point is high enough to lock out any the less affluent. The console’s unarguably more effective in terms of protecting trademarked content. Which would remove the threat that most Tube sites pose.
The headaches adult content would cause Sony and Microsoft presently make keeping out of the smut biz a no-brainer. But, that headache may soon be outweighed by the very tangible multi-billion dollar a year industry adult films come saddled with.
Sony and Microsoft love money a whole lot more than they've ever loved ethics, and if an open-source platform started gobbling up market share, they’d switch gears faster than you can say “Stern Rules”.
Could the adult industry find an ally in the open-source Ouya?
Despite a few fringe novelty startups, the first overtures haven’t even been made yet, but the future is most definitely coming. It’s almost inevitable we’ll be living in a world where virtual sex is a reasonable, mainstream way to spend your evening, and the “living room hubs” our consoles aspire to become are the most natural homes for that content.
It’s only matter of when.