Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Bytes

Porn Does It Again. Tech’s Biggest Booster Gives Wallpaper App The Edge

Chinese gamers are using an innocent wallpaper app to circumvent the country’s pornography ban

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt through the various format wars and the take up of new tech, it’s that finding new and interesting ways to deliver pornography to the populace is an enduring ‘use case’ that always ensures early adoption.

Thus Wallpaper Engine is a popular app that lets users share, view and create desktop wallpapers for Windows PCs. But the seemingly stuffy app has in recent months proved insanely popular among citizens of China who just seem to love making and trading Windows wallpapers…

However, in a report by MIT Technology Review they have concluded that Wallpaper Engine’s popularity in China isn’t due to the quality of their attractive desktops. It’s because it’s being not-so-secretly used to shovel in porn.

China has a long-established ban on online porn however, the popular Steam application is a proving a loophole for Chinese citizens. The country has blocked much of the western world’s popular websites, such as Instagram and Google. However, while Steam introduced a Chinese version of Steam last year, the government has yet to block access to the global version. 

“Consuming erotic content is a basic need,” Chinese journalist Cui Jianyi told MIT Technology Review. “If there are no legitimate porn websites, then people will consume it wherever they can find it.”

Perhaps the fact that the porn is already perfectly scaled to display full-screen just makes it even more enticing?

Hide in plain sight

Cui investigated the app in 2020 and quickly discovered hentai anime, pirated copies of Hollywood films and porn. It’s estimated that 40 percent of Wallpaper Engine users are Chinese.

It seems unlikely that the Chinese government will allow its citizens to access the app for very long. Uploading pornography is a crime under Chinese law, with several users getting six to eight months behind bars for reposting porn on Twitter over the last few years. According to MIT Technology Review, Niko Partners, who specializes in Asian and Middle Eastern games market intelligence, recently upgraded the risk of China banning Steam to ‘high.’

Currently, Wallpaper Engine is the 10th most popular title on Steam with roughly 80,000 active users and boasts overwhelmingly positive reviews. The app lets users create, share and download animated wallpapers and screensavers.

China’s Metaverse

With its current bans on pornography and western content, China’s metaverse will likely be very different from the global metaverse. Last year, Beijing authorities issued a warning stating metaverse investors ‘will be burnt in the end‘. However, that doesn’t mean the country has no interest in the next phase of the internet. In fact, Shanghai plans to build a $52 billion metaverse industry by 2025.

Written By

Jack Brassell is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist. Jack is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. As an author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. Also an avid gamer, she works as the lead news editor at Hardcore Droid. When she isn't writing or playing games, she can often be found binge-watching Parks & Rec or The Office, proudly considering herself to be a cross between Leslie Knope and Pam Beasley.

You May Also Like

Level Up

Eager to be at the metaverse frontier, but not sure how to get started? As exciting as the idea of a shared digital space...

Bytes

New blockchain gaming platform based on Unreal Engine 5.

Bytes

The record for the most expensive land sale in the metaverse has just been raised

State of Play

What do we mean by the metaverse? Our vision of shared, real-time, persistent, virtual worlds has been shaped by popular culture, from Neal Stephenson’s...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Subscribe to the future

Advertisement