Is VR the Future of Pornography?
The adult entertainment industry has always tried to stay a step ahead when it comes to technology. The future of pornography always goes hand in hand with the future of pornography as the adult film industry often drives how people decide to consume their entertainment at home. And the future of home entertainment might just be VR.
The adult entertainment industry is a key early adopter in the tech world and often have the clout to influence what will or won’t fly with the general public — though it’s not foolproof. Media wars are often settled by the porn producers. You might be too young to remember the Betamax versus VHS wars, but due in part in porn choosing to go the VHS route for home media, VHS VCRs became the standard. Betamax, the better option when it came to video and sound quality, but was a pricier product to mass produce, quickly faltered and died. HD-DVD and Blu-ray was a similar story. While video game consoles also influenced this home media war, the porn industry made both, but ended up heavily favoring Blu Ray. And now HD-DVD is gone. On the other hand, porn producers were early adopters of Google Glass and we all know how that went (they don’t make them anymore). That was more of a gimmick for producing porn, rather than the consumption of it.
As you likely well know, adult entertainment production companies have jumped all over the smartphone as a porn delivery device. They’ve made their videos easy to stream and their websites easy to access on your phone. They’ve made them clean and attractive even when squashed down onto the smallest screen. They provide varieties of bit rates so you can stream videos on your phone regardless of what your connection is like at the time. Hit a data hole? They enable direct download to your phone to overcome that too. They’ve worked around the death of flash and the growth of html4 and done whatever they need to in order to appeal to a wide audience. Smartphones are ubiquitous and so are smartphone-friendly porn websites. The porn industry wants their consumers to have no issue getting them, and the smartphone is an easy way to reach you.
This leads us to virtual reality.
VR is an immersive experience that porn could really capitalize on to create a very special and unique experience for the consumer. Especially with the right technology to reduce distractions, create the right stimuli and enhance the viewing experience. However, price has always been a major issue when it comes to investing in VR in your own home.
VR is a very solitary endeavor. As is porn consumption for most people. It seems like something that would go hand in hand. In fact, there are companies now making VR helmets and systems exclusively with pornography in mind. The sensory immersion of VR offers tantalizing options for the porn industry. But there are significant barriers to entry. Most VR helmets of any quality, and the software to make it run well, require a high grade PC. This is a major expense that many people simply don’t have, or don’t have the interest in investing in given that it’s such a solitary experience. This significantly limits the potential audience available to produce for, and if you can’t reach a majority of consumers, then there’s very little reason to invest significant funds in producing anything for it. The adult film industry is a massive money maker. That’s their sole goal.
VR being a solo entertainment experience is also a drawback when it comes to home media. But when it comes to pornography consumption, it’s a bonus.
Mainstream companies have come up with alternatives to these high priced systems. They utilize your own smartphone and the technology there to create an immersive experience with googles, lenses and a slot to insert your cellphone. With one of these, VR has become super accessible. The results have been amazing. There are content producers on YouTube and other internet video service providers or other media companies like Vice and the New York TImes that have their own producers creating interesting VR content that is easy to access with one of these cheap headsets.
But, what about porn, you might be asking? Well, pornhub and the like have extensive categories on their websites — some behind a paywall for anything of decent quality — that you can access from your phone with virtual reality porn that’s available at your fingertips at any time. Your phone, a Google Cardboard compatible VR headset, some earbuds that came with your phone — and you’re on your way to a whole new experience when it comes to sexual stimulation. It might even be as good as the real thing one day with the right technological investments.
The adult entertainment industry has always made sure to incorporate new technology into all aspects of its productions. They made the home media revolution happen, have influenced the media by which you consume entertainment and have incorporated HD, 4K, HDR, streaming and more as soon as they can — sometimes earlier than consumers can even keep up. But when they get there, there’s already a library of content for them to buy or click. It’s a great way for them to get some extra pennies out of your pockets.
And virtual reality is no different. Anyone can tell you that VR is an incredible, immersive experience that you have to experience yourself to understand. And the idea that there are now companies making technology with pornography and erotica in mind to make them even more immersive and pleasurable for the user is something that has me for the excited for the future of pornography and VR. Especially if they can take it mainstream and make it cheaper and easier to access.
It’ll be interesting to see what tech companies working in conjunction with porn companies might be able to come up with to make porn even better in the future.