A nerd walks into a hotel bar and spies a beautiful swimsuit model who just happens to be doing a shoot that day. The nerd walks over and, using his vast repertoire, completely charms her. Moments later they are off to her suite for a night of unbridled passion.
I’ll leave off the details, but I have played out this scenario in my head many, many times. I have, of course, never been able to do this in real life, but thanks to a company named Wicked Paradise, that may no longer matter. Here’s the deal, Wicked Paradise is a virtual reality erotic adventure game designed for the Oculus Rift. In case you haven’t been to CES recently, the Oculus Rift is a virtual reality device that allows the wearer to become immersed into a virtual environment. The rift is being developed by Irvine Based Oculus VR and is scheduled for a 2014 release. Due to the success of Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign and the press that followed, the Oculus Rift is quickly becoming the next big thing in gaming and digital entertainment. With the Oculus Rift vr glasses, you are no longer playing a game by looking at a computer screen, you are completely inside the game.
Wicked Paradise is developing the world’s first fully immersive erotic virtual reality adventure game specifically designed to make use of the amazing capabilities of the Oculus Rift. Instead of watching an erotic movie or reading and erotic book in which the main character has exciting sexual adventures, you become that character. Per the company’s website, “imaging playing Leisure Suit Larry but instead of watching a screen, you are inside the game.” First of all, from a marketing standpoint, does anyone besides me (or men my age) even remember Leisure Suit Larry? Secondly, yes, I had that game and there was nothing more frustrating than “winning” and seeing the screen go dark. I HATED that game (well, loved it, but hated that part – remember, this is pre-Internet). I’ll skip the other “imagine” scenarios that the site promotes.
I would dismiss this except for two important things. One, let’s be honest, erotica drives technology like this and two, the team behind it seems like they know what they are doing. Wicked Paradise conssits of a team of seasoned video game industry veterans with dozes of shipped AAA titles under their belts, such as Rage, Call of Duty, Lost Planet, Madden, etc. With the recent round of layoffs in the industry, I believe it. The official Wicked Paradise game will launch with the Oculus Rift in 2014. You can follow them on Twitter and like their Facebook page for updates, sneak peeks and teasers.
I have to admit that I think this is brilliant. I mean, from a positioning standpoint – this is spot on stuff. You know the target audience – hardcore gamers and geeks (who are lining up to buy the Oculus Rift) and your frame of reference is pretty obvious – I mean, why not just go straight for erotic? The point of difference is tied to the technology, so you aren’t competing (until other companies jump on board) with regular web erotic. Heck, Google Glass is already dropping the hammer on erotic, so why not?
For me personally, I don’t have any problem with the game. As a consumer, I’m not really in the direct target audience, so the bigger challenge is to sell me on the Oculus Rift. From an agency perspective, I recognize that Oculus Rift can’t really promote Wicked Paradise (yet), because they don’t want to alienate moms, so the perceived promotional benefit is for Wicked Paradise to promote Oculus Rift. I doubt that Wicked Paradise will bump any sales of the vr glasses. I mean, they’re talking to the same target audience. I suppose it is possible that some 24 year old gamer might be on the fence and be swayed by the chance to “imagine walking into a bar in Wicked Paradise, notice a beautiful lady, talk to her and seduce her” since it’s probably not happening in real life, but not so much that it’ll move the needle. No, I think the marketing here is good – just build awareness and sell to those who snap up the Oculus Rift. I admit that I’m a bit jealous of the agency that gets to handle this account.
And yes, I do hope to play it some day. I’ve even been practicing . . . if I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together!