Most of the market is filled with these types of dating sims, because the original consumer base in the early 1990s was primarily made up of young women aged 20-30.With these kinds of games, girls could explore relationships and romantic fantasies in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Dating sims geared toward men with a male protagonist trying to court women are called bishōjo ("pretty girl") games and they also focus on romance and sexual encounters.Most of these games use a tasteful fade-to-black for sex scenes, but some are sexually explicit or outright pornographic.
The targeted audience for dating sims is still men and women aged 20-30, who nowadays make up the generation known as "millennials," who -- studies have shown -- are generally more knowledgeable about sex than any previous generation.
But what if I told you that all of us have probably been playing dating games for the past 10 years and you didn't even notice?
Some of the biggest and most popular, award-winning games are secretly dating games which use other genres as padding to distract you from what you really care about: sex and love.
But as social norms shift, Western dating sim players are multiplying and becoming more open about their love lives and love of the genre.
In 2014, it was reported that over 22 million women worldwide were playing dating sims and most of this comes from the genre's increasing accessibility outside of Japan as well as Western developers making games patterned after them.