Friday, July 6, 2012

50 Shades of Gray Times 20 Million Equals ... What?

Ah, wealth porn and porn pron, a traditional fantasy combination! Image source: me.

My flying monkeys have informed me from sources worldwide that sales of the 50 Shades of Gray erotic trilogy have passed 20 million copies sold worldwide, as reported in a previous post. Well as Anna would say, "Oh my!" As I noted when sales passed 10 million, this is a huge, huge number. It basically means that 20 million women are enjoying BDSM fantasies. And I want to put this a little more in perspective by describing how it affects something I know well, rather than dealing with it just as a publishing phenomenon, as I did in my previous post.

I'm a player in Second Life Gor, which has tens of thousands of players. The best number we have is 50,000 players, but that was from several years ago. The widespread use of alts (alternative avatars) could have inflated the number, or not (IIRC the 50,000 number was leaked by a Linden based on credit card numbers, which would not be bamboozled by alts. The source also said, based on the gender of names, that the ratio of female to male players in Second Life Gor is about 60/40, which roughly jibes with my personal experience. (I use Ventrillo, an internet voice service, to raid, and with voice it's easy to tell who's male and who's female.) So the number has some cred with me, though it remains guesswork and not exactly reliably sourced, as the Linden who revealed the numbers has not come forward. But it's the best estimate we have.

Now let us suppose that some tiny fraction of the women who read 50 Shades of Gray decide they want to enjoy some bondage and dominance fantasy in a more direct way, and find their way to Second Life Gor. Suppose that number was just one tenth of one percent, i.e., one in a thousand. That would lead to 200,000 new players joining Second Life Gor. Four times the number of current players.

Unfortunately, given that the readership of 50 Shades of Gray is almost completely female, the odds are that the overwhelming majority of 50 Shades of Gray readers who come to Gor will want to play slavegirls. Sexy slavegirls, who want a master all their own. And with just 40 percent of Gorean players being male, and only 50,000 Gorean players total ... there's gonna be a LOT of unhappy slavegirls!

Ah well. You win some, you lose some!

The importance of the fact that 20 million women are enjoying fantasies like this cannot be overstated. It's the sort of thing that the term "game changer" was invented to describe. Image source: Sex and Submission.

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