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Sex sells: Virtual reality porn is about to save the industry

Watching virtual reality porn for the first time is an odd experience. It's not particularly arousing; you feel the same motion sickness most VR still gives you, and you can't help but wonder at the marvel of VR. But despite that, the adult entertainment industry believes in virtual porn. It delivers better quality, and perhaps even more importantly, it's lucrative. We spoke to Naughty America CIO Ian Paul to see if porn is going to make VR really popular - and vice versa.

Kijk hier om dit artikel in het Nederlands te lezen.

Because we believe in proper journalism, we set off to do some extensive 'field work' beforehand by strapping a Gear VR to our heads, and although we're not unanimously enthusiastic about it we can see the advantages of virtual simulated sex scenes. At the moment, VR misses enough pixels, and because of the curvature of the lenses a massive, naked giantess is sitting on a well trained male body which is most decisively not mine. But awkward as VR-porn's first experience may be, Paul is sure it'll be a big turning point that will transform the industry.

 

Porn is a decision maker

Paul likes to make parallels to other carriers of digital media where the porn industry has had a decisive role. In the 80s there was the battle between Betamax and VHS, and when the big American studios almost unanimously decided to release their movies in the latter format, Betamax was as good as dead. The same thing happened 8 years ago, when the battle between HD-DVD and BluRay was decided by the porn industry.

 

 

 

Porn was a deciding factor in the battle between Betamax and VHS, and BluRay and HD-DVD

With VR, porn won't be exactly the deciding factor, but "it's influence will be undeniable", says Paul. "Think about it. In the future you can buy two headsets: one that will allow you to watch porn, and another that won't. Which one are you gonna chose?"

 

 

 

More possibilities

It's the reason Paul is in Barcelona on the Mobile World Congress. Naughty America (unfortunately) doesn't have a booth, but that's what Paul wants. He wants to talk to the manufacturers of VR-headsets, to explore the possibilities of allowing adult content into the app stores. It's one of the biggest obstacles right now. He specifically wants to meet with Samsung, who made the most popular headset of the moment: The Gear VR.

"It's still way too difficult to watch porn on a VR-headset", Paul tells us. "You have to download the video, put it on the phone, navigate to it..." In an ideal world, Naughty America can make its own app where subscribers can see new videos, or if all else fails at least stream movies in a browser. At the moment, that's impossible. Viewers are subjected to a complicated and diffuse system only those with the highest urges are willing to overcome.

 

Hardcore fans

 

 

Only real fans still pay for porn, and especially for VR

Only the real fans want to go through all the trouble, and it's those fans that Naughty America has set its sights on. The studio, like so many others, has been torn apart for years by a massive amount of free 'tube sites' like PornHub and Xvideos, which offer short videos and live on banner ads. For the majority of viewers, that's enough; nobody pays for porn.

Except with virtual reality. That's where Paul sees a business model. "The tube sites are going to feel the rise of VR," he almost smirks. Viewers want mostly quality in VR, because it's 'an experience'. That means high production values, filming in 4K, long videos with famous actresses, and that's something tube sites don't offer.
 

Hard to come by

Less than 10% of Naughty America's current videos are filmed in virtual reality, although Paul says it has the basic technique under control now. "We know how to make it. Now we just have to expand on that, improve it, and make it a proper business model."
 

VR-porn is only available when you pay for it

At the moment, there's not a lot of places where you can download VR-porn. Besides Naughty America, there's VirtualRealPorn, which focuses solely on that genre. There's a gay alternative, VirtualRealGay, which is still a lot less popular. Both sites use a subscription model where users can pay a monthly wage for access. Videos can be downloaded onto phones and used with devices.

For most actors, VR-porn is still difficult to get acquinted with, although there are pornstars like Ela Darling that have made VR their sole career.
 

Technological hurdles

"We keep experimenting, especially with 360 degree videos"

However, there are still a lot more obstacles to overcome in this particular branch of filming. At the moment, everything is pretty similar. Almost all videos are shot from a POV-perspective, with the actress in front of you doing most of the work. Also, most videos aren't truly VR yet. The only porn right now is in 180 degrees. "It's not really interesting watching porn and looking behind you to see a wall," Paul says.

This should change in the future. "Then we'll film orgies from the middle," Paul brainstorms. That's not easy though, because it's difficult to film porn in VR. "You have to record something, stop, see if it works, and then continue."
 

Experimental phase

That makes VR-porn still in an experimental phase. Naughty America is still searching for the right business models, the right way of shooting, what hardware is available... Everything is being researched. Paul specifically refuses to say anything about the process of filming, because that could help its competitors - and Naughty America is still one of the few studios seriously working on VR.
 

"VR is the future of porn"

Of course, there's always the risk the industry is betting on the wrong horse, and that virtual reality remains a niche that won't catch on. But that's not what Paul believes: "There's a reason Facebook bough Oculus. If Mark Zuckerberg is behind virtual reality, it says something."

One thing's clear though: It has to be more accessible for users. "If you tried it once, you want nothing else. In the end, VR-porn should feel the same as 'the real thing'." We can't do much but hope for that. 

Geschreven door: Tijs Hofmans op

Category: Nieuws, Algemeen

Tags: virtual reality porn, porn, vr porno, naughty america, vr porn, Virtual reality, virtual reality porno, VR, porno

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