Albuquerque, NM, December 18, 2008 — D-Dub Software’s new adult video game, BoneTown, has raised controversy for its graphic depictions of sex and drug use, but now it is also being talked about for its innovations in video game age verification. As the first entry in the new Adult Video Game Industry, D-Dub is working to open distribution routes for adult games. Through their partnership with the age verification company Veratad for online sales and their innovative storefront distribution methods, D-Dub is bringing techniques long used by alcohol and tobacco companies into the video game world, taking the first proactive step towards solving age verification problems in the video game industry.
Though the United States video game industry has many games rated “M” for Mature by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB, video games are currently one of the least regulated industries in the country. Age verification for video games currently consists of nothing more than a casual ID check, compared to the alcohol, tobacco, and even movie industries where stringent age verification practices are in place. Considering this, it is easy to see one reason why AO (Adults Only) games are uncommon, as it has historically been difficult to make sure these games don’t fall into the hands of children.
After researching the age verification tactics employed by these other industries, D-Dub Software has decided to bring some of their techniques to the video game world to allow adult products to be sold safely. For example, in an online sale, merely using a credit card is no longer sufficient proof of a customer’s age. To counter this, D-Dub has partnered with Veratad Technologies and is using their AgeMatch Age Verification Solution which “… is aimed at achieving a balance between assisting parents in the overwhelming task of protecting their children from age sensitive content, products and services, while preserving reasonable access to those of legal age,” in the words of Veratad President Pattie Dillon. Veratad has long served the online alcohol and tobacco industries but until now the video game world has not utilized their services.
Offline, BoneTown is sold only in adult stores. These stores, like liquor stores, are strict about allowing only customers of age to enter the store or purchase products, making it unlikely a child could obtain illegal goods there.
Hod, CEO of D-Dub Software, admits that requiring customers to pass age verification has annoyed some customers, but the company realizes the importance of age verification and hopes that other adult games will follow suit.
“We know that BoneTown is a hardcore adult game, and it’s not meant for kids, but with the huge demand for adult games the video game world really needs to find a way to get them out there. Hopefully this can help. Maybe once they realize that we’ve found a way to sell our product safely, they’ll be willing to accept us, and someday this method of distribution could become the standard for Adults Only games,” he says.
D-Dub also wonders why, with technology like this available, there are not more adult games on the market. Consoles from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have online distribution that could easily plug into age verification software, and any AO game could be sold in an adult store. D-Dub hopes that the video game industry will catch on to this idea.
“Maybe this will help open the floodgates,” says Hod. “It’s been proven that customers want adult games, and we hope we can help make it happen.”