Platform-produced Heteronormativity: A Content Analysis of Adult Videogames on Patreon

Petri Lankoski, Thomas Apperley, J. Tuomas Harvianen

Games and Culture, (CC By)


This article examines the prominent role of Patreon in the rapidly growing sector of crowdfunded pornographic games. Recent research has indicated that, on average, more people (patrons) are funding pornographic digital games on Patreon than other (non-adult) digital games. Graphtreon’s ‘Top Patreon Creators’ list from 9 June 2021 includes six NSFW game projects among the top 50 projects (ranked by number of Patrons).1 For example, Summertime Saga (Dark Cookie), the highest-ranked pornographic game, is third in terms of the number of funders, with 27,791 patrons funding $74,657 per month. While Wild Life – An Adult RPG (Adeptus Steve), which reportedly only had 9417 patrons as of 9 June 2021, receives a monthly income of $94,129 from those pledges.2 The current funding levels for both Patreon projects are considerably higher than when we began our sampling: since January 2020, the funding level for Summertime Saga has risen by 27.86%, while for Wild Life – An Adult RPG it has risen by 21.45%.

Keywords: adult games, content analysis, heteronormativity, non-consensual sex, Patreon funding, pornography

Published by lankoski

Petri Lankoski, D.Arts, is a Associate Professor in Game Studies at the school of Communication, Media and IT at the Södertörn University, Sweden. His research focuses on game design, game characters, role-playing, and playing experience. Petri has been concentrating on single-player video games but researched also (multi-player) pnp and live-action role-playing games. This blog focuses on his research on games and related things.

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