Virtual Reality Revolutionizing and Reinventing Global Adult Porn Entertainment Industry as New Frontier
All you need is a pair of VR goggles and voila! There emerges a sexy naked woman flirting and flaunting her essentials at you… This is the dawning era of VR Porn, this is the making of a new technology that uses an immersive video with a virtual three-dimensional performer, it appears so real it’s hard to differentiate from a real living woman. Welcome to the world of virtual reality that promises to actualize your wildest sexual fantasies.
Analysts have underscored the crucial role that pornography stands to play in making the virtual reality business lucrative. This is augmented with the fact that the porn industry tends to be one of the earliest new technology adopters.
Adult Porn Predicted to be VR Market's 3rd Largest Sector
Estimations from Piper Jaffray project the worth of adult content business to hit $ 1 billion by 2025, making it the third largest virtual reality sector just trailing video games (1.4 billion USD) and NFL-associated content (1.23 billion USD). Further, analyst Gene Munster likens the virtual reality porn boom to the mobile phone industry 15 years ago.
There is a likely symbiotic association between virtual reality and adult film. Analyst Gene Munster asserts that, while the virtual reality sector will benefit from improved sales triggered by adult films and increased demand for headsets, the porn industry will benefit from subscriptions that will provide the much needed revenue stream.
Besides, the adult films industry is banking on the cutting edge technological advancements to convince people to purchase content. This is in light of the declining sales of traditional adult videos. Over the five-year duration ending 2015, the porn industry recorded an annualized revenue growth rate of just 0.3%. The IBISWorld Market Research attributes the declining sales to the proliferation of free adult sites and the high rate of piracy bedevilling the business.
The timing of investment in virtual reality porn is aligned with the growing attention towards technology, virtual reality headsets have recently hit the market, these include the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, the Google Cardboard and the Samsung Electronics.
While speaking at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2015, on the role of virtual reality in entertainment, Stanford University virtual reality testing center founding director, Jeremy Bailenson stated, “Tech giants are in an arms race to put this technology in your living room”
Alternative frontiers to apply this technology that have gained attention include the entertainment and sports. This is manifested in partnerships between Samsung Electronics and NBA to shoot behind-the-scenes and live action footage of experiences in the court. Similarly, Samsung contracted David Alpert, the producer of the famed “Walking Dead” to produce a thrilling VR content through its video streaming service, Milk. Also, Facebook has been debuting cartoony shorts at film festivals through its new brainchild, Story Studio.
Facebook may not intend to use virtual reality in adult videos, but porn filmmakers are, nevertheless, gearing themselves for the wide adoption of the technology. However, the virtual reality technology comes at high costs since film production requires special gadgets unlike the production of a two-dimensional video. This pegs the success of the new technology to subscriptions which adult film companies are banking on to increase revenues.
Notably, virtual reality porn sites such as VirtualRealPorn thrive on selling subscriptions to their customers. Filming challenges pose major barriers to entry in virtual reality adult video production. According to VirtualRealPorn spokesperson, Linda Wells, filming concerns have to do with performer positions, poses and distance from the cameras. These challenges faced at the initial stages made VirtualRealPorn to design its own cameras to meet its specifications.
GoPro Inc. attempted to solve these challenges when it designed a mount in the shape of a cube, capable of holding up to six action cameras. The resultant footage is then combined to form 360-degree videos using technology from Kolor.
Unlike the traditional video, a virtual reality video is designed to immerse people and convince them that they are present in a simulated environment. This makes the videos more difficult to produce. The porn industry has stretched the boundaries of this technology by partnering with companies that make digitally synced sex toys to incorporate sex toys in the experience.
Lovense, a key maker of these interactive sex toys recently partnered with VirtualRealPorn. Despite previously declining offers to sync its toys with animated content, the company spotted a great opportunity in using real actors. Initially, the high demand for toys saw Lovense run out of stock but soon the firm got convinced that the demand was sufficient to design a range of toys specifically for the virtual reality adult content.
Interestingly, major internet players such as Youtube and app stores linked to Apple Inc’s iOS and Android have consistently stood against the wide prevalence of pornography by enforcing a ban on adult content, but that has barely reduced its proliferation. In fact, porn continues to spread through third party app stores, films are also accessible through Web browsers like Chrome.
Jupiter Research projected that by 2020, some 193 billion adult videos are expected to have been watched in that year alone, a significant increase from the projection for 2015 that was 136 billion films. The report also forecasted that globally, each smartphone owner using adult material would watch 348 videos on average in 2015. The United States is expected to account for the largest share of the growth in worldwide porn viewing by 2020.
Adult content has received acceptance from virtual reality industry grassroot players such as Oculus Rift. Despite being owned by Facebook which implements a strict policy against nudity, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey stated at a conference that the company is an open platform that does not micromanage software content thereby implying openness to x-rated content.
Amidst the increased investment by porn firms in virtual reality, activist have pointed out that these firms have little regard for industry performers. Critics claim that the companies have done little to provide health services to performers who contract sexually transmitted diseases in the course of duty. Also the firms fail to provide resources to ensure that performers comply with federal laws such as wearing protection during filming.
Also, concerns have been raised about the possibility that these immersive simulated experiences could adversely affect the physical and mental health of users. New York based therapist, Alyssa Friedman-Yan, stated that encounters with patients with addiction issues and partner relation problems linked to pornography are becoming more commonplace.
The Fear of VR Porn Addiction?
She further asserts that the exposure to extreme sexual activity could affect the actual activity with partners. However, Nicole Prause, a professor at the University of California has discounted these fears citing the lack of evidence that directly links pornography to addiction. She states that the virtual reality technology could be used for therapeutic purposes. Similarly, Michael Aaron, a licensed sex therapist and psychotherapist in New York City contends that porn like most things can be both advantageous and disadvantageous.