VR’s Bleeding Edge: Mainstream Moves the Needle
For all of the buzz surrounding VR porn, it is the mainstream with its big budgets and marketing muscle that is leading consumers into the virtual realm, overtaking the influence of adults’ early adopters and raising the bar of customer expectation.
As such, forward-looking adult operators court the bleeding edge for any advantage, taking inspiration wherever they may find it. To get a gauge on where this new industry is heading, XBIZ sought the input of some of porn’s top VR producers, asking, “Are there any mainstream VR advances you’re watching closely or anticipating in the future, which could impact your VR content production?”
We also work over the matter of supplemented reality and we wait for technical solutions that will allow the client to use his own hands and to interact with the object [more closely]. -Alex, TMWVRNet.com
Not surprisingly, most have their finger to the wind, actively seeking direction.
CAM4VR content manager Ela Darling told XBIZ she is quite interested in how advances in VR tech will impact both the adult and mainstream VR industry.
“I’m most looking forward to the release of the Oculus Santa Cruz prototype: a new generation of the Oculus Rift that is entirely self-standing without the need for cables or a separate computer,” Darling shared. “It will be like the Gear VR but with positional tracking, a better internal computer and most importantly a tighter interface between the hardware and the software. This will allow Oculus to better utilize the available hardware and release updates faster.”
VixenVR CEO Jimmy Hess said that as with any new technology, the cost of hardware and the cost of development must be considered.
“As developers, the cost to add just one more cool new feature to an application can be a hurdle, but we can’t help it so we continue to build,” Hess said. “Every day something more exciting becomes possible due to smaller, faster and more affordable computing, and the VR headsets will continue to get smaller and more affordable, too.”
Hess referred to a recent article where tech firm AMD predicted that virtual reality will soon be so advanced that humans will choose to live in computer simulations.
“How’s that for advancements?” Hess asked, adding, “We are betting adult entertainment will continue to be a driving force in VR!”
YanksVR CMO Todd Spaits said the company watches all of the advances being made on the tech front today, telling XBIZ “to be more specific, I hone in on mainstream strategies and techniques that bring a greater degree of transfer of intimacy between the model(s) and the viewer.
“Increasing that degree of intimacy is what will take VR content forward,” Spaits said. “Increasing that transfer may reside in increased resolution, more innovative rigging, new shooting techniques or post production software. We are all in on working on all the preceding advances.”
AliceX CEO Fabian Grey said, “Magic Leap is certainly a company to watch, what they do is amazing! But, their technology will probably only become relevant in three to five years.”
Marc from Simsense Media told XBIZ he is keeping an eye out for VR webcams with high-efficiency hardware encoding (h.265 or VP9) which would make streaming live VR more feasible.
“I’m also keeping an eye out for a dedicated stereoscopic VR camera for consumers and professionals,” Marc said. “When that comes out, VR production will become trivial, and I will probably have to move on to something else.”
Reality Lovers’ CEO Rene Pour told XBIZ the studio has just started using a voyeur perspective in its productions.
“The advantage is that the user can satisfy their curiosity and be a part of all the scenes, without having to necessarily identify with one of the actors,” Pour said. “Green screen scenes are also an interesting venture, as they might in the future allow for time and space travel from the comfort of your sofa.”
Pour said that in the future, he anticipates a general improvement in VR picture quality.
“This includes better focus, pixelation and the ability to move more freely without lessening the experience. Also, various haptic tools can be integrated, as well as other sensations,” Pour explained.
“We are also hoping that VR will become more and more popular and sought after, so extending our portfolio to cater to less mainstream clientele is something we are currently planning.”
VReleased CEO Nicholas Dodge said that in terms of VR, he’s awaiting a device that has six degrees of freedom, Leap Motion quality hand tracking and a high-res display — all within an untethered mobile headset — and also “very excited” to see the rise of Augmented Reality porn.
“I think most of the bigger tech companies are on the brink of launching an AR platform. Once you can have an artificial intelligence girl in your own ‘real world’ environment, I think more and more people will stop looking for ‘normal’ relationships and start getting attached to their AI girls instead,” Dodge said. “In Japan, we’re already seeing some people choosing to have relationships with their computer-generated girls over real humans — imagine when AR can bring these girls to life — that’s when things get more interesting and the fun begins!”
Alex told XBIZ the team at TmwVRnet.com is always on the search for different solutions.
“At the moment, we are working on equipment that will help us to shoot dynamic scenes and camera movement,” Alex said. “We also work over the matter of supplemented reality and we wait for technical solutions that will allow the client to use his own hands and to interact with the object [more closely].”
HoloFilm Productions president Anna Lee told XBIZ there are two things she is keeping her eye on when it comes to mainstream advances.
“Firstly, all-in-one headsets are emerging out of Asia,” Anna Lee said. “These Bluetooth headsets already come preloaded with content, or they can have content added via Wi-Fi or an SD card; carry with them a relatively low price point, nice graphic capabilities and an all-in-one solution that does not require you to purchase a separate phone or computer to utilize with your HMD.”
Secondly, Anna Lee said she is keeping an eye on “social VR experiences” and where that is headed.
“The idea of creating VR experiences with multiple viewers simultaneously is something we have been working with at Redlightcenter for many years,” Anna Lee explained. “With Facebook really pushing the development of this, it will be interesting to see how content producers respond to the idea of a VR porn experience for multiple viewers rather than a single POV viewer.”
“I strongly believe however that VR porn producers are the trailblazers of VR content production,” Anna Lee added, “and that as it stands right now, mainstream is looking to us to educate themselves on how to shoot the best, most immersive content.”
Public relations coordinator Piper Blush said YourVRPorn is excited for live VR to become widespread.
“A few studios have made live VR shows, and currently our camera is capable of it,” Blush explained, “but the biggest impact will be once individual performers can easily produce live content without the need to engineer their own capture and distribution technologies.”
Blush revealed this is why the company is working on a low-cost model aimed at that target market.
“We expect live VR to be a massive revenue stream once it reaches such a level of dissemination,” Blush added, “as it turns the immersive, but passive experience of VR adult content into a fully interactive one where you see, feel and can talk to the real person in front of you.”
Paradigm Net Media founder Telly noted that VR technology is evolving quickly, and equates the time we’re now in, to that of the Lumière brothers and the beginning of cinema.
“Today we’re talking about fisheye lenses and 4K cameras, tomorrow it could be about Lytro and volumetric film or catfishing each other with augmented reality face-swap chat applications like the one Snapchat is engineering,” Telly told XBIZ. “Technology will always be a variable, but the one constant we should focus on is creating visually and emotionally compelling content for targeted demographics that also fills a cinematic void created by the industry.”
Rocketbike ARVR CMO Sean Earley said, “WebVR/React VR is definitely one of the most exciting advances, which eventually should make developing VR and AR much more universal. It still has huge performance limitations, but that will change over time.
“I also very strongly believe that the real tipping point with any immersive technology (mainstream or adult) will be mobile, wearable augmented and mixed reality,” Earley explained. “Mobile MR will have the most potential for mass adoption, utility and monetization, which is why we are definitely working on our future strategy to address that world when it happens. Apple, Facebook, Disney and the rest have already made this pretty clear that this will be their future platform — so I expect it to start to slowly realize in the mainstream in small steps by sometime next year.”
Earley said he definitely sees the webcam end of the business owning this future.
“The ability to put on a mixed reality headset that is simple, like a normal pair of glasses, and view a real live model filmed on a green screen positioned in your space in the real world, engaging with the viewer using teledildonics, will really be the ultimate experience that people will pay for,” Earley told XBIZ. “[These are] exciting times and definitely a use case worth positioning for. The key will be to not only see this future but to start now to position for it.”
CEO Daniel Abramovich said that as a technology company, VRBangers likes to innovate and create.
“We change our VR technology almost every month to make sure we are ahead of the game and bringing out the best quality in the VR market,” Abramovich explained. “At the moment we are working on a secret weapon that can change VR porn entirely. We are very close to finishing it and will disclose this when it’s done.”
For his part, Grooby Productions’ president Steven Grooby told XBIZ that the future includes “interactive gaming where the viewer can move through a 360-degree scene and make choices.”
Terpon CEO Jean-Claude Artonne told XBIZ that the difference between Terpon and other players is that the company is not waiting for someone else to create new advancements.
“We are at the edge of innovation and we believe that many innovations we are already developing will eventually land in the mainstream market as well — after being successfully monetized in the adult industry,” Artonne explained. “It’s time for adult companies to stop looking so much at what others are doing in mainstream and return to this industry’s proud heritage of being the ones who lead the way. Terpon is happy to do our part in helping to make that happen!”
It is a playing field featuring stiff competition.
“We are excited that big brands like GoPro and Samsung are releasing new 360 cameras and VR headsets that will bring VR to mainstream audiences,” BaDoinkVR head of production Xavi Clos, “while also waiting on Apple to make its first moves into VR.”
As with most adult companies pursuing next-gen technology, Adam says CamasutraVR keeps a close eye on the latest developments.
“We monitor the Siggraph papers and other academic research and watch the development in the gaming industry closely,” Adam told XBIZ. “We started our careers in the mainstream and academic fields so we’re very much aware of what’s possible and what’s yet to come.”
The takeaway from all this is that even though VR porn is a new market segment, it is already rapidly evolving into the realm of Mixed Reality, encompassing Augmented Reality (AR), VR and more, without having the slow-and-steady evolution typically seen in tech, where a multi-year process is now shrinking to a matter of months. This means sleepless nights of study and experimentation for developers, and a boon to consumers who will flock to the latest and greatest offer from modern porn’s bleeding edge.