opinion

Focus on Fantasy

Stephen Yagielowicz

The entertainment industry, adult or otherwise, is built upon a world of make believe, where what’s known as “the suspension of disbelief” brings audiences out of reality and into the realm of fantasy.

This desire to live one’s dreams can be found across a variety of venues, including in adult oriented animation and games, as well as in the “relationships” fans have with their favorite performers, or the perceived sense of “status” that heavy cam show tippers seek. Point-ofview (POV) video productions and interactive content that responds to the user’s demand for control, further feeds his fantasies while tailoring the experience to his needs. Many online dating and other personal offers thrive in this arena — because at the end of the day, it’s all about imagination.

From fake tits to the notion that hot nymphomaniac chicks are just waiting to jump into a stranger’s van, fantasy has played a long and endearing role in adult entertainment, and taken many forms in the process with some steps not even requiring explicit imagery.

I recently began considering this role of fantasy in adult entertainment after reviewing complaints about performers and promoters purchasing fake profiles, “Likes” and votes, in order to skew the results of contests, polls and other popularity contests. It resurfaced a tough question that I’ve asked before: “Is there room for honesty in adult entertainment?”

While there certainly is room for honesty in the way we do business, it is the lack of “honesty” in our stretch-mark and wrinkle free, physically enhanced, Viagra-inflated and payment fueled performances that is far from the reality of many consumer’s bedrooms — and thankfully so, since it’s not really “sex” that sells, but the fantasy of “perfect sex,” where nobody has bad breath, that is porn’s real cash cow — regardless of whatever the customer’s concept of “perfect sex” might be.

Sometimes a new adult service is the result of a couple’s desire for sexual fulfillment, where fantasy seeks to guide reality along the way to their perception of a perfect sex life.

Take London-based Kinky Provocateur (www.kinky-provocateur.co.uk) for example, which came about due to a wife named Cathryn’s sexual awakening in the aftermath of her reading E.L. James’ provocative book, “50 Shades of Grey,” which made widespread international headlines last year, due to graphic portrayal of BDSM-laden sexual activity.

The novel influenced Cathryn to approach her husband about her emerging fantasies, but it was hard for them to overcome each other’s shyness and the pressures they both felt while exploring this new world.

As an ice breaker, Cathryn turned to sexting with her mate; sending naughty texts and photos detailing her desires. She says that since they weren’t face to face when receiving these hints, it was up to the recipient whether or not to implement them in their next romp — a less intimidating approach that made this “game” more fun and exciting.

“After realizing the positive effect that these kinky messages were having on our relationship, our aim was to create something that could be gift wrapped and retailed to other couples to ‘kinkify’ their sex life,” Cathryn stated, explaining that the couple turned their idea into Kinky Provocateur, selling invitation cards containing suggestive pictures and text messages similar to the hints they had sent to each other. “Our hope is that other couples can create a similar game, by using these cards to allude to their sexual desires.”

It is a way that fantasy can transform into reality for the participant, while generating profits for the company, through upsells such as tasteful presentation cases for the cards; and while it is a decidedly low tech product, it benefits from high-tech marketing.

Advances in technology and the appeal of an underserved market also drive the next generation of entrepreneurs, such as James Leach of International Consultant Services (ICSworldwide@ aol.com), who seeks investment in order to bring a unique, interactive hardcore sex game to market, featuring a virtual mate that appears at random times daily, enticing the user to take the role of the lover and play against time and penalties that cost points or even end the game. Leach says his there is no real competition for his game and cites enormous opportunities for putting attractive porn on Smartphones or other devices.

“The target is to circumvent dependency on restrictive app shops and other retail channels, and sell directly to end consumers worldwide, via secured download,” Leach told XBIZ, explaining that his product is a hardcore sex game with real adult play value. “It is amusing, entertaining and ideal for PCs, Smartphones, PDAs and mobile platforms.

The game is language-neutral for global marketing and there is no cheat mode.”

Leach is not normally involved in the adult entertainment business and lacks contacts with major players, so if you want to get in on the action, here’s a unique opportunity.

“My game is the ideal time killer for home and underway,” Leach concludes. “It also provides an ideal means to deliver advertising to qualified clientele.”

Other companies are further along in the process, but still fresh out of the gate.

For example, the new $99 Android-powered OUYA game console is seen as giving a subtle wink and a nod to mild forms of porn following a statement by CEO Julie Uhrman, who commented on the platform’s quick and simple app approval process.

“It’s similar to mobile: [developers] submit their games, and we’ll review them for intellectual property infringement, and malware, and excessive pornography,” Uhrman told Engadget.com. “But ultimately it’s a quick review and you’re in the storefront in one capacity or another.”

The potential promise of a new platform for porn purveyors could help bring more fantasies to life in consumer’s living rooms — especially when coupled with the latest in visual control systems, such as those now available for the PlayStation, Wii and XBOX.

Of course, traditional offline game play also enjoys an adult appeal.

For example, Kheper Games (www.khepergames.com) recently released a party game entitled “Fail!” which the company claims “playfully satires many classic family games.”

According to Kheper Games CEO Brian Pellham, the game’s target audience is adults of all ages — with its players submitting comparison cards as the worst possible answers across four categories, including (Mis) Leading Questions and (Im) Personal Trivia, plus Trivial Abandonment and Bad-Libs.

“There is a strong niche in our market for adult party games that do not require drinking,” Pellham stated. “Fail! allows good friends to get together, have some good laughs and take life a little less seriously.”

It is a description that underscores the heart of “adult entertainment” and one that shows the real world connectivity possible between adult consumers and online offers.

Perhaps the most compelling bridge between fantasy and technology occurs in the world of haptics, or the man-machine interface.

Toronto-based Sex Games Report recently partnered with The Virtual Sex Review to examine the top two interactive sex toys for men.

The survey reveals growing acceptance of haptic technology, such as AEBN’s Real-Touch and the VStroker from Fleshlight, as compatible content offerings increase in quality, quantity and variety, providing tangible inspiration for the user’s fantasies.

“The RealTouch and VStroker have been around for a few years now but have recently undergone substantial upgrades allowing for better integration with third party content providers,” Sex Games Report’s Managing Director, Ed, stated.

Ed cites less price sensitivity in the niche web cam services market than in traditional adult content venues and notes that the live interactive sex arena has long facilitated new technologies such as 3D content, HD web cams, video ads and more.

All of which serve to bring fantasy closer to reality.

From fake tits to the notion that hot nymphomaniac chicks are just waiting to jump into a stranger’s van, fantasy has played a long and endearing role in adult entertainment, and taken many forms in the process with some steps not even requiring explicit imagery.

If you are finding your current approach lackluster, perhaps its time to pursue a newer method of making visitors’ dreams come to life — capturing their sexual imagination by placing your focus on fantasy.

Stephen Yagielowicz is XBIZ World’s senior technology editor.

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