To expand the question for some context. We’re asking, why is a VR game developed 5 years ago (that’s Illusion’s VR Kanojo) offering a “girlfriend experience”, still one of the best available with little in the way of competition? We shall delve a little deeper to try to understand the possible reasons why. Here is the game in action, showing the standard non-adult sections. Those who want to take it further have to download a separate patch.
There are plenty of adult VR games on various storefronts including Steam if you peruse the catalogue but none, with the exception of a few such as Korean developer Smilegate Entertainment’s Focus On You can rival Illusion’s offering. That’s a game which offers a story, interaction with the character before any sexual content is even considered or in Focus on You’s case, no sexual content at all.
What makes matters seemingly more unfathomable is there are more VR users now compared to 5 years ago, and with the arrival of Meta Quest headsets, VR is a far more accessible pastime for the masses and proven to be increasingly lucrative for VR developers across-the-board. Obviously, Playstation VR is a no go for adult VR titles, but even SONY with its strict policies managed to allow the rather tame but feature complete girlfriend experience Summer Lesson back in 2017 on its family system. One could argue Summer Lesson (prior to its release) was an inspiration for VR Kanojo. In addition, Focus on You also joined the PSVR line-up.
Perhaps we have to look at the developers themselves and the motives for making these types of games and experiences. Again, there are many developers working on adult VR titles as you can see in our adult VR games directory, including those from western countries. However, it seems few have the resources or even the same desire as their eastern counterparts.
Illusion have a lot of experience with adult games with quite an extensive catalogue of titles spanning many years. VR seemed to fit their direction, however they still haven’t released Summer Vacation – a sequel to VR Kanojo which was announced back in 2018. According to Steam comments, it was last updated in October this year and Illusion confirmed it’s still in development. That’s good news, but again this is Illusion, a Japanese company ruling-the-roost still. The doors are wide-open for other developers and their games to follow a similar direction, and yet there are only a handful of titles. It seems that most developers which generally fall into very small teams of a few people focus on experiences that offer character posing, customization and then straight down to the adult content with not much in-between.
Perhaps then, there is a stumbling block for developers aside from a lack of resources, or finances. They need to get motion capture, or the right animations. A voice actress, and then have the skills to construct a story and interactions. This is obviously challenging for smaller developer teams and even more so for those making VR titles. It’s possible there are more financial opportunities in Japanese and Korean markets than there are in the West. But we’re speculating here. What we do know though, is western based developers fight against certain taboos, for example Holodexxx had its realistic looking game refused on the Steam storefront after Valve performed much wrangling and strengthening of its terms when pushed by the developer. Things like this are going to make developers think twice about the kinds of projects they spend their time on. Bigger developers and publishers controlling the purse-strings aren’t likely to invest in these types of projects either, and so would be developers fall on the likes of Kickstarter and Patreon funding. But, even then, we’re not seeing an influx of these types of games unfortunately, simply because they are harder to make.
To surmise then, aside from any cultural differences and objections, the lack of desire from all developers worldwide is most likely driven by the fact they can simply make a character posing type game with relative ease using existing assets. Anything new, comes at a great cost of time and or money. Illusion have finite resources where VR is not a massive priority for them. Yet, with the games that do support VR and the communities who mod their games, they still lead the field. There are several lone developers working on story projects (Captain Hardcore and Villain Simulator) being two of them, but Illusion (now IVR) has a bigger team of people to make their games. We’re just not seeing that commitment anywhere else (hence the smaller teamed projects) and we doubt that is going to change any time soon sadly as the market is there for these types of experiences as VR Kanojo confirms.