Will VR Porn Be A Success Or A Potential Failure?

Scott Camball charts Adult VR's role to date, his opinions and those of people in the tech industry.

In 2014, Ella Darling changed the world of adult film by taking virtual reality (VR) technology and putting it to work in an erotic setting – a VR pornographic movie.  This marked a sort of beginning for VR’s involvement in adult films. A few years down the road and VR porn is revolutionising the porn industry with the immersive, interactive experiences it can provide, but with all the hype surrounding the technology, has it lived up to expectations?

After researching the topic, I’ve come up with the only true answer I could find – “It depends on who you ask.”

My basic experiences with VR porn have been mainly through using my Samsung Gear VR (which works seamlessly with my Galaxy smartphone) and VR porn tube sites to stream free vids.  It should be known that I am by no means a VR porn expert.  I’ve watched perhaps ten movies, and only sampled the higher end VR headsets such as HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.  My knowledge is more theoretical and research based.  I did notice however that the experience is quite good and could easily become addictive.  One thing that my experience taught me is that I like VR porn more than I do regular 2D porn.  You find yourself alone, with a sexy porn star and they’re, you know, going about their business – you can’t help becoming immersed in the scene.

“VR is the biggest (porn) niche since MILF,” according to Ian Paul, Naughty America’s CIO.  “It’s a niche that’s on fire.  So, it’s a force to be reckoned with, and it can easily go from being the biggest niche to the mainstream, to the dominant force in the industry.”

Naughty America VR logoVR porn is already on its way to a potential industry take over, with PornHub receiving over 500,000 views daily of their 2600+ VR video library.  Those are incredible numbers and the wave doesn’t look like breaking any time soon.  The porn industry has also been known as a major driving force when it comes to adoption of new technology and it, along with the video game industry, is the biggest driver for VR.

VR porn has found support for headsets through third-party applications, and even though the catalogue of available videos is still dwarfed by regular pornography, it’s growing larger every day.

VR porn naysayers are also not difficult to find.  Talk to video game execs and they’ll tell you that gaming is the future of VR.  This type of attitude made Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR, feel inclined to take a pot shot at some of the major VR companies, bemoaning the fact that “they pretend that adult VR doesn’t exist.”  He also claimed that if he were to jump back into a major VR company, he would, “secretly fund adult VR content because pornography has been an important driver for every recent form of media.”

There are also plenty of industry insiders that claim augmented reality (AR) will be the future and render VR obsolete.  I myself am more of the opinion that there will always be space for both technologies and that their uses can overlap quite easily.

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An issue that seems to be holding the adoption of VR back is the lack of standardization within the industry.  VR headsets are all using differing technology – from varying displays to tracking techniques.  This makes software more difficult to develop and keeps production costs high.  From a pornographic perspective, peripherals such as the Kiiroo or Lush teledildonic sex toys cannot be released fast enough.  These bring the much-needed element of touch and haptic response into the equation, making the technology that much more appealing and useful.

Speaking with Mike Hartman of VRSmash about his vision for the future of VR, he was very positive. He said, “Imagine how quickly VR – not just porn specifically, but in general – would be adopted by the masses if touch was added to the visuals.  Couples in long-distance relationships could have a “physical” connection to each other no matter where they are.  Dating or friendship could become truly global and relationships as we know them could change forever.  Once this side of the technology catches up, there’s no telling how large the snowball can grow.”

For now, there are valid opinions on both sides of the fence and it remains to be seen if VR and VR porn will not only survive, but also prosper like many think it will.

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