Love and Producer: The Dating Game Played by Millions of Chinese Women
Virtual sim answers users’ need for support and companionship.
There’re lots of questions being thrown around about sex tech.
Is virtual reality sex cheating? Will sexbots lead to violence against women? How can we prevent hackers from infiltrating our intimate devices?
The list is a long, but one query that doesn’t seem to come up often is perhaps the most critical: what do people actually want from sex tech?
The good news is that there might very well be an answer to that last question—and it involves a mobile game used, and enjoyed, by millions of Chinese women.
This is Love and Producer
Developed by Suzhou-based Pape Games, Love and Producer puts the player in the shoes of a female television producer working to preserve the legacy of her father’s classic show.
The gameplay doesn’t appear to be anything really special, with the mechanics involving determining the right stars and film crews, putting together each new episode of the new show, and dealing with the game’s convoluted plot.
The game first begins to get a little unusual in that your father’s original show, and the one you are working to emulate, involved exploring Evols: humans with extraordinary abilities who live among us.
The real crux of the game, and a good reason why it has become who exceptionally popular, is that the user soon finds herself being romantically wooed by four alluring men.
To begin with, there’s the equally brilliant as well as handsome Xu Mo; second is the cool and focused Li Zeyan; third is Bai Qi, who is an Evol with the ability to fly as well as a kick-ass special forces cop; and lastly there’s the brightly cute Zhou Qiluo.
More than just 4 men
But it’s not so much the characters but what Pape Games does with them, or, to be precise, what they’ve done with them after the game was launched in late 2017.
It would be a massive understatement to say the game was immediately and immensely popular when first released: according to Pape Games their title had been downloaded not just an impressive million but over ten million times.
Soon after launching, the developers began to expand the world of Love and Producer by voice hiring actors to give their male characters “life” in the real world for social media posts and game updates.
They also began to offer unique downloadable packages where one of your four suitors will call you to whisper sweet nothings into your year.
The men of your dreams
This is where things get fascinating. You see, it’s not so much the game mechanics, or even the treat of being able to listen to Xu Mo, Li Zeyan, Bai Qi, or Zhou Qiluo, that looks to lie at the core of Love and Producer‘s popularity but rather what they say—and the kind of men they are.
A perfect example is in the special interactions they’ll have with users who are on their periods.
Speaking to Wired, Li Ke Hu, explains why these characters served a very real need for her during this time: “He’s very caring. Men never really know what actually happens when we’re having this thing.”
Similarly, another unnamed fan spoke of the men’s allure, saying “They’re very attentive. They’re generally more into feelings and emotions.”
The cultural factor
While this attentiveness and understanding the game is clearly providing for more than a few of its users, there’s another probable reason for its success: that it reflects the changing roles of women in Chinese society.
A perfect example of this is Pape Games itself, with its focus on female players as well as the games production staff being majorly staffed by women.
Meng Juan, their senior producer, said to Wired that the goal isn’t merely to entertain their users but lies much deeper than that.
For us, understanding the spiritual needs of women in modern society, addressing their psychological feelings, and game quality are things we should not lose sight of.
In this spirit, Love and Producer offerers attentiveness but also empowerment.
Women playing it can control their romantic experiences, date multiple men, get the care and support they need: something that is gaining momentum in Chinese society but still remains culturally challenging for many.
If there’s a need
Even factoring in that Love and Producer is a Chinese game designed and built for Chinese women, it’s obvious that something very much like it could be enjoyed by many women—and is maybe even deeply needed.
It probably shouldn’t need to be said but if there are any other developers reading this then do some serious pondering about a game that has been downloaded ten million times—and that it might be possible to do the same thing in other countries for other audiences. Just saying.
But here’s an additional thing to consider. While Love and Producer is obviously providing something important to its users, in the future games like it could demonstrate and teach others how to be in a caring and supportive relationship.
Yes, there are a lot of questions around sex tech. But Love and Producer might end up giving us an answer to one of the biggest ones: to listen, acknowledge, and best of all, respect what women—and everyone else for that matter—want.
Image sources: GamerBraves