Sex, an industry taboo
The relationship between the video game industry and sex has always been hesitant at best. The most prominent publishers are reluctant to include sex scenes in their games. And when they do, like the Hot Coffee mod in GTA San Andreas or The Witcher sex scenes, they are generally censored, to varying degrees of tastefulness.
One might remember in particular the recent ban on players recording erotic scenes in Cyperpunk 2077, which was formulated by Xbox. And today's unusual story also came from Microsoft's video game division.
A daring comparison
It's the kind of anecdote that might make you crack a smile. But it got one of the most prominent designers of the first Xbox, Seamus Blackley, into trouble. The story resurfaced on Twitter in response to a quote attributed to a Bloomberg journalist. The statement reads:
Gaming is like masturbation. Everybody does it, nobody wants to talk about it.
Wanting to give credit where credit is due, the journalist explained that this infamous quote was a direct reference to a statement originally credited to the developer, a few weeks before the Xbox's launch.
In response to this tweet, Seamus Blackley explained that he was almost fired from Microsoft because of this one sentence.
So why this comparison? At the time, Microsoft's Xbox had a major advantage over its competitors: online multiplayer. Unlike local multiplayer, which requires at least two people to be in the same room, the online mode managed to circumvent this hassle. The fun is still shared, but in the process, it becomes a solitary pleasure... hence the bold image.
Called up by Bill Gates himself
Seamus Blackley believes that the reason he was about to lose his job was that the quote appeared in the pages of the East Side Journal. According to him, the conservative newspaper was often read by the wives and girlfriends of Microsoft executives.
The story even caught the attention of top bosses Steve Balmer and Bill Gates, who promptly summoned Blackley to their offices. Despite the executives' anger, the developer was spared the threat of dismissal and managed to launch the Xbox on the console market.
If in the beginning, Microsoft's first console had some difficulties, the American company now weighs much more heavily on the video game sector, as shown by the purchase of Activision-Blizzard for the record sum of 70 billion dollars.