Tobold's Blog
Saturday, October 06, 2012
 
The XBox is for porn

Adult site YouPorn had an announcement this week:
Gamers and free porn lovers around the world rejoice! Thanks at long last to the introduction of Internet Explorer for XBox, you can now tap in to and stream all your favorite free YouPorn videos right from your [Xbox]. Whether you’re pwning n00bs in CoD: Modern Warfare 3, annihilating Bullymong in Borderlands 2, or taking the Saints deep in Madden NFL 13, you’re never more than a few simple controller clicks away from being face deep in hot free porn.
That caused Microsoft to clarify that they *aren't* adding any specific porn apps to the XBox. They are just adding Internet Explorer, and as everybody knows that the internet is for porn, this addition makes it easy to access whatever adult website you want with your XBox. With some people still considering video game consoles to be "for children", that is a somewhat uncomfortable link for Microsoft.

Ultimately the porn is an unintended consequence of digital rights management (DRM). Games sold without internet activation end up being copied or resold, which is what Microsoft and the XBox game supplier want to prevent. But if your game only runs with an internet connection, you must be sure that every XBox has that internet connection, and that means stuffing it with applications like Internet Explorer to make connecting the XBox to the internet more attractive. But once you are connected to the internet, you are connected to porn. Even Apple, who vigourously guard their app store against even the slightest smut can't prevent you watching porn via the built-in safari browser on your iPhone or iPad.

The whole story is very entertaining, especially from an European point of view. Europeans are generally more relaxed about sex, and more concerned about violence. An XBox on which you can hack enemies to splattering pieces with a chainsaw, but which is carefully protected against showing a naked breast (unless it is under the chainsaw treatment) is pretty hilarious to us.

Comments:
To be fair, the whole disconnect over sex vs. violence is pretty hilarious to some of us in North America, too. Well ,it would be if it weren't so damn sad.

On the bright side, the Xbox already had the "Sexbox" controversy with Mass Effect 1 a few years back, and that wasn't even a sex scene, just some side boob shots, so perhaps no one will care. And if they do care, use the damn parental controls. They exist for a reason!
 
Something that everyone will do at some point - it's a Rite of Passage, the first time. Your parents had to do it, in order to breed. It's normal, natural, most of our society is geared towards getting to do it and most enjoy it greatly.

Can you imagine what kind of world we would live in if I was talking about murder instead of sex?
 
Perhaps it is time for console manufacturers to start making separate consoles for kids and adults.

Imagine if there was an Xbox junior (only games with under 15 ratings can be played on it and no internet etc) as well as an Xbox.

Better still have an Xbox and an Xbox-adult. That should spell it out for most parents.
 
I think IE has some parental controls. If not, they need to patch them ASAP.

As to the debate of sex vs violence, I think Tobold looks at a small sample of Americans (devout Christians?), or maybe at their hypocricy.

No matter how you slice it, probably 80% of porn is produced by US companies and believe me they are not shooting porn so they can export it to free-thinking Belgium. It's for local US consumption.
 
The bit about DRM is completely wrong. The Xbox 360 has had internet connectivity ever since it came out 7 years ago. During that time, I haven't seen any game purchased from the store that required internet authentication. They all work perfectly fine offline, and if I take the disc over to a friend's console it works fine as well. (Some of the "Xbox live arcade" games purchased online don't work offline)

The connectivity there because, you know, people like playing online multiplayer games. Some prominent franchises (CoD, Madden, etc.) are known for it.

Interstingly enough, the other two consoles out there, including the kid-friendly Nintendo Wii, have had unrestricted web browsers on them for quite some time now.
 
If you created two consoles, one restricted and one not, the one with restrictions wouldn't sell.

Easiest way, which most computers have these days, is parental settings. MMO's have them too. I think it's a good idea.

I grew up playing Mortal Kombat 1 and EQ. I now have two kids who like to play Wii and my oldest uses the internet for homework. Guess what, I sit next to her and read or something while she is on the computer to A. answer any questions and B ensure she doesn't go to a site I don't want her to.

Really you wouldn't need all these "parental settings" on electronics if parents weren't so f'n lazy.
 
@Kevin said "the one with restrictions wouldn't sell".

I don't agree. Most kids get their first gaming console as a present from their parents or another adult. It would have to be a pretty irresponsible parent who buys the Xbox adult, complete with parental warnings for their junior school kid. I think that distinguishing age rating in the console would be much easier for most parents to understand than the current system of age ratings on games.

I fully expect the adult version to sell more, after all the majority of gamers these days are adults but it would cost very little to add some kind of hardware flag to the design to distinguish between versions.

Best of all from a console manufacturers point of view it gives them the perfect defence against accusations of corrupting youth. The next time an 11 year old stabs his friend after playing GTA 13 they can point out that the parent let their child have an adult console.
 
Let me rephrase that... very few kids over the age of say 13 would get it, or want it. Right now my kids, 8 and 5, only get to play with Wii. They don't get to play the PS3.

Somehow you think parents will all of a sudden become aware of what electronic products they are buying their kids, or more than likely even care because it's the console with the rating and not the game? I know people that let their 7 year old kids watch Walking Dead. I know a parent that took their 8 year old child to see The Hunger Games (Rated PG13). The kids at my daughters school get in trouble for "role playing" Call of Duty all the time. Putting a rating on the console wont fix any of this. You are simply neglecting that alot of parents don't care... or don't realize how big of an impact video games DO have on children.

I grew up with video games, the first generation to do so. I'm very much aware how to much or that certain types of video games can harm you while growing up. Most parents think that because they are just games, regardless of rating, they are harmless.

 
Beyond the age of fifteen, or maybe beyond historically the Sixties, most of us recognise that equating "depiction of violence" with "depiction of sex" and expecting the same simplistic set of rules to apply to both is a bit childish.

Even in Europe.
 
So THAT's what the 'X' in Xbox meant!

All I can do is laugh. I'm expecting some Congressman to freak out in the very near future about these "so-called porn boxes", where little kids can watch porn at all hours of the day with just a click of a controller.
 
This goes all the way back to the Dreamcast, and is nothing new....except that Microsoft is now slowly getting behind having full internet browsing on their machine, which is kind of amazing, really, that they would even think to do this. Probably being introduced at teh end of the Xbox life cycle so they can test public reaction to it before the next gen consoles are properly announced. If people accept it and move on that will probably have an impact on just how much connectivity and access the 720 offers. If people flip out, the 720 will probably be neutered, so to speak.

As for the "80% of porn comes from and is for US consumption" bit, sure...but probably because there's still a more puritanical element in US society than many of us who spend too much time online realize. You can't make sex titillating unless it's naughty, after all. The problem I see if that segment of the porn industry that wallows deep in the dominion of misogynistic quasi-violent porn designed to denigrate and subjugate women for the benefit of men who appear to have serious issues, and that stuff also tends to come from US porn more than elsewhere, unfortunately. So bottom line is, US has some seriously messed up issues with sex and gender relations. Not going to comment on Europe, which seems to have its fair share of issues as well the closer you get to Germany.
 
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