The Funcom open-world survival adventure video game Conan Exiles used to let players adjust the size of their characters’ breasts and penises using an ‘endowment’ slider that would enlarge the pectorals or elongate the penis based on player preference. It was an overt feature unlike any ever offered in a video game before, but sadly the game’s creators have removed the endowment feature to avoid an “adults only” (AO) video game rating that would have kept the game from wide-scale distribution.
The game is now rated as “mature” (M) alongside other games that feature intense violence, sexually suggestive themes, partial nudity and strong language.
Although the game had previously been released on the Steam gaming platform with its nude endowment slider, the slider was removed from the version of the game recently released on the Xbox One.
Funcom’s community manager, Jens Erik said, “The reason for this is if we included full nudity in Conan Exiles, this would have resulted in a more restrictive ESRB rating in North America which then might have prevented a broad release of the game.”
If you’re curious, you can see video of a very endowed Conan Exiles character running around. It’s quite a sight.
The Conan Exiles penis slider raises concerns of video game ratings and censorship
Like an NC-17 film rating, an AO rating can kill a game’s financial success as some companies don’t allow AO games to be released for their systems and some video game retailers won’t sell AO-rated games. As a result, many game developers like Funcom will censor or scale back their creative content in an attempt to get an M-rating that stores will sell.
M-ratings can actually contribute to a game’s success. A 2007 study by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research found that M-rated games have “the highest average gross sales in the United States.”
But the rating system itself, conducted by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, is weirdly inconsistent. While the large penises of Conan Exiles would’ve gotten the game an AO rating, players can sleep with and kill sex workers in several installments of the Grand Theft Auto video game series even though it only has an M-rating.
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