Cosplay Contests Give Rise to “Avataring”
Back in March, Gaming Adult and ImLive collaborated on an event called the “Hentai Look-Alike Party,” in which ImLive models cosplayed as characters from “Hentai Heroes.” Over 360 models participated, with three chosen by player voting to become new characters in the game. The three winning models from the March event were Susan Blake, Micaela Smith and Nika Kova.
Gaming Adult and ImLive held a second event in May, the “Advanced Hentai Action Party,” which ran from May 14-19. In addition to generating a reported 25,000 new users for ImLive, the event also produced a second round of models to be incorporated into “Hentai Heroes” as characters. This time around, the winners were Jasmin Passion, EmmaLu and KimmyLovee.
In a press release, Head of Business Development for Gaming Adult Onizuka said, “It’s a great honor for us to have the gorgeous ImLive models immortalized in ‘Hentai Heroes’ …Our players love the cosplay event and they are excited to have the sexy models join their Harems.”
Also via PR, ImLive CEO Tal Bar Cohen said the two companies are “celebrating another success story” – one that has gone beyond a simple cross-promotion and grown into a niche market all its own. The niche market here being IRL models being incorporated into gaming universes as characters.
“Already four times more than the results of the first party, ImLive’s second hentai event attracted hundreds of thousands of gamers, tens of thousands of whom became active webcam users,” Cohen said. “For us, it’s another proof that this is far beyond just a collaboration. Together with our highly valued partner Gaming Adult, we are creating a new and sustainable niche business model in the adult industry.”
Models as Game Characters: Awesome, or Nah?
With the ongoing success of collaborative promos like these, it’s not too far a stretch to imagine that we’ll be seeing more models becoming avatars in the future. My question here is, of course, how do we feel about this?
Certainly the “avataring” of a model doesn’t happen without said model’s permission. Obviously, in the cases outlined here, the avataring comes via contest participation — but what are the long-term implications, both for the model (Are any royalties happening here, for instance?), as well as the age old question of society?
Does avataring essentially equate to the opposite of anthropomorphizing? And, what impact might that shift from IRL to character/avatar have on viewers and consumers? (And do we even care?)
Just food for thought as only time will tell!
Erika is a sex positive people watcher (and writer). Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.