12/10/2007

12-10-07 - 2

The problem with video games is there's no sex. I don't mean virtual sex in the game world, that's awful, I mean in the industry and community, amongst the fans and the fan-sites. Sex is what drives most art. Why do boys want to be rock and roll stars? To get sex. All the parties with celebrities and musicians are so exciting because the people are beautiful and everyone is having sex. What do the crazed fans of musicians dream of? sex. Why do the interns and roadies work in those industries for crap wages in shit positions? Because they want to be around the sex and get some cast-offs. What made myspace so popular? Fans trying to hook up with bands, impress each other and bed each other. Lots of sex.

The sex in these industries is not just relevant to the people who are specifically in it for the sex. In fact less than 10% of the people are activity involved in seeking or having sex, but the affect spills out to the whole fan base. The presence and competition for sex creates an excitement, an energy, that fills the whole social interaction. It brings in girls, and makes everyone want to impress each other. Everyone tries way harder to seem "cool" because that leads to hookups - and then the peripheral people who aren't involved in the hookups also try to seem cool to keep up, or to impress the cool people who were drawn in.

Look at something like Extreme Sports. Sure there are a few people who are actually into it for the excitement of doing it, but that group is very tiny. Then you get a huge female fanbase that it's in it for sex with the stars of the sport. Maybe not actual sex, but fantasizing about them, thinking how cool they are, etc. This creates a huge explosion of guy fans who dress up in the style of the sport and try to do the moves and act like the stars in order to get the cast offs. This leads to even more girl fans dressing up who are just interested in hooking up within that subculture.

The huge websites like myspace and facebook are basically driven by sex. They were tiny and not much used until they became a hookup site, and that led to an explosion. Not only does it draw in lots of cooler people, it motivates everyone to put more effort into their pages, to actually post pictures of themselves, it also made it cool for popular people instead of just being nerdy. Having a good page became a way of peacocking for partners.

Note that sites and activities that are specifically *for* sex don't really have this same effect. Nobody wants to admit that they're after the hookups, and certainly the popular people that you need to drive the pyramid can't be seen actively seeking hookups. You need to be able to at least pretend you're there for a different reason, and there does need to be a legitimate networking activity underlying the site, since only 10% or less of the traffic is actually for sex.

Video games are totally lacking this. There are no sexy video game makers, no parties, no reason why anybody would want access to the industry, the people who play games are not sexy, the fan sites don't lead to hookups, etc. The closest thing that video games have are very social simple MMO games. I think there's a possibility for an explosion in that genre, but at the moment all those types of virtual worlds are basically worse than Facebook and really provide zero reason to play them. For one thing, seeing stupid 3d avatars is not hot, you want to see actual photos.

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old rants