By Nir Netzer

When VR came around, it turned our imaginations ON. Geeks all around the world woke up with the same brilliant idea - “Dude, porn in VR is gonna be dope!”.

And if we learned something from history, we know that porn pushes technology forward. Porn was the first internet economy. It contributed a lot to the growth of video. What can we say, are humans horny? And that horniness challenges our limits? 

So what’s next? Will “Orgasmatron” booths with VR headsets and Bluetooth synced toys be popular all around the world? Is that how we will deal with our loneliness, or will it make us more lonely? When the fantasy gets so real, will we ever go outside?

I was sent by Kiiroo on a mission to understand where VR porn is going. Because now we can start to estimate where the market is going. And maybe also learn something about the future of VR as a whole. Is VR really going to change our lives, or is it just a flop?

Just before we start, a little about me and what we are here to do. My name is Nir and I have been directing VR/360 video professionally for 4 years now. In this article, we will do an overall look at the VR porn market and keep the conversation on a sex-positive note. So there will be no pornographic language here, but for an adult conversation about our sexuality, yes. Ok, let’s start!

vr porn kiiroo


What’s VR Porn and what’s the problem?

If you’ll research VR porn what you’ll mostly find is a 180 stereoscopic (3D) video that offers you a new kind of immersion. You will be positioned in the first person POV (point of view) of the man (there is less VR porn made for women).

The new body and the intimate perspective have a big potential. Here we have the option to experience porn like we have never experienced before. Embodying a new sexy body and having the actress look at us in the eyes as we are going to town. It’s a game-changer!

Though the promise is good, we have yet to see the masses rushing to the stores to buy VR headsets and immerse themselves in VR porn. The market is growing, but ever so slowly. It’s not like we see a line out of Best Buy to get the new Oculus, as we’ve seen when every iPhone comes out. So, what’s the problem?

Let’s start with 'distribution'. VR headsets are still techy, bulky, and expensive. Though the sales of the major VR headsets have been rising over the last few years, the growth of VR still feels slow. In 2017 about 4 million units have been sold. In 2018 it was about 5 million and in 2019 about 6 million VR headsets were sold. It’s growing, but it’s not booming.

The main use of VR is still in video games and that’s pretty much it. Movies, education, and also porn are still underdeveloped or not massively created. In addition, Oculus will not host pornographic content on their platforms. Therefore, if you would like to experience VR porn you will have to do it from the web.

In that case, having a good internet connection is essential. You can find VR porn in all the main porn sites, yet the libraries are still dull and mostly unoriginal. We see many new production companies creating content, and it seems like they are having good business. Yet, it’s questionable if the demand is higher than the supply, or that the supply isn’t good enough to raise the demand.

And I don’t want you to think that I am criticizing the VR porn creators out there. It’s hard to make good content. Which brings us to the second and main challenge, creating content.

Almost all the VR porn out there are 180 stereoscopic because of the desire for a realistic and intimate perspective. And while professional 360 cameras have developed well over the years, the 180 cameras are being used more frequently.

So far most of the 180 videos, in general, were mainly filmed by cameras that Google were sending to their creators. And porn was not on their content list. Only a few years ago the Z CAM K1 professional camera was released to the public, which is the only 180 camera that is marketed for professional use.

And even with the Z CAM, it’s still very hard to get realistic results. The process of stitching a realistic parallax is very specific and complex. Rendering time is long, and after all of that work, the results still might give you a headache. So how can we save the day?

 

Let’s Get Techy

In this segment, I would like to lay the challenges VR porn is facing and offer another approach to overcome them. When approaching an immersive set from this kind of content, there are a few challenges we face:

  • POV - almost all the immersive porn out there is being filmed from the first-person point of view. Which brings the challenge of locating the camera. If you could move the head of the actor and position a camera right on his neck it would be ideal. But since it’s most likely not the case, the camera is usually positioned in front of his chin. This is also why creators have been using mainly 180, so the actor could position his head behind it.

  • Parallax - Since we would like the actress to be close to the camera, it brings challenges to the stitching and the realism of the parallax.

  • Movement - Since the viewer has the freedom to look around, the camera must be stable. Therefore, it makes it harder to demonstrate the body movements of the actor. A lot of positions, like standing up, could be challenging. This is why most VR porn is currently filmed in a less active or 'laying down' position.


Let’s Try Something Else

I would like to give a piece of advice, maybe even challenge the status quo over here. Immersive erotica creators out there, I would like to offer you a new approach. 

As much as I totally understand why 180 stereoscopic is a great solution, I would consider filming in 360. The 360 cameras are a lot more developed. The stitching process in creating a realistic parallax will be easier to achieve. So what should we do with the actors' heads you ask?

He can lay his head below the camera and then composite his head out during post-production. Masking the bottom tripod (or head) has become a usual method of work and the tools to do it are a lot more stable (Thank you Adobe!).

And what should we see if we were to look back? Well, I will let your imagination run free. Maybe there is another couple over there getting it on. Since the action is happening right there in front of the viewer (and slightly down), the option of looking back completes the immersion.

Also, I would love to see the medium get out of that first-person POV and explore new horizons. An immersive perspective of an orgy could be exciting. Immerse yourself in the old Roman “theatre” or a sex party. I can see how this would sell. The limited 180 wouldn’t fully deliver on the immersive premise, and the post-production process is a lot less supported and unstable.

Most importantly, I would like to vote against the stereo video at this point. The tech is not good enough for creating a good parallax on a regular matter and most people’s viewing equipment isn’t optimal for 3D. I would say that until the technology gets better, stereo in 180 and also stereo in 360, does more bad than good.

Especially in such an intimate distance from the camera. The immersive perspective itself is enough to excite the audience. I would argue that the stereo makes people sicker than not, and therefore steer them away from VR in general. 3D makes the post-production process a lot more complicated.

I always tell my clients that stereo videos will take more than double the time to achieve professional quality. Also, most people are still getting used to having those odd goggles on their heads. Let’s make it easier on their eyes and export on Mono until the tech gets better.

The Audience

Now after I butchered VR porn, let’s talk about what’s good. I wanted to see what people think about VR porn, so I went down the Reddit hole to what the internet has to say about it. 

vr games kiiroo

Honestly, people love it. All I found are excited reviews talking about how cool it’s ‘going to be’. With the emphasis on “going to be”. You see a lot of excitement on the web about VR porn. People are raving and ranting about the sites that do exist, with a lot of ‘how cool the future will be’ spirit.

Which I think is an amazing thing. What is porn if not a fantasy? Therefore, fantasizing about the future of VR porn can be apart of it. To quote from an article on rabbitsreviews.com “Imagine the State of VR Porn in 2033”.

“Don’t Worry, It’s Nothing Like 3D Porn”, they say. I don’t think anyone thought that 3D is the future of porn, but it’s refreshing to see such a positive response to 360 videos. And some of those new VR porn sites are better built than most cinematic VR distribution sites.  

I found something interesting when comparing the search frequencies of the keywords “Virtual Reality” and “VR Porn”. I pulled both of those keywords into Google Trends and what I found wasn’t shocking, but interesting. 

Here is a graph that shows the frequency of the searches of “Virtual Reality” in blue and “VR Porn” in Red since 2004.

 

vr statistics kiiroo


We can see a few things here. I think my first conclusion is that people don’t think of porn when they think about VR in general. To my surprise, the search for “VR games” was about as frequent as “VR Porn”, so I guess VR is still just a general concept and people talk about it for a specific use.

In addition, I was curious about those peaks. VR and VR porn have been peaking every December since 2016. And why is that? It’s hard to find a specific answer but I would guess two things:

First, it’s the holidays and VR headsets are the things to buy. Second, it’s the end of the year, and at the end of the year, we talk about the future. Future plans, future focus. Therefore we can estimate that VR is still in our future. If not the searches for “VR Games” or “VR Porn” would have been higher. 

But more interestingly, Here are the top location for searching both “Virtual Reality” and “VR Porn”

Top locations interested in Virtual Reality:

vr stats kiiroo


Top locations interested in VR Porn:

vr analysis kiiroo



I want to know how and why the interest of “Virtual Reality” is higher in Vermont than California, but it’s not relevant for this article.

We can clearly see that the search for “VR Porn” is high in the countryside, like Nevada and Alaska, while the search for “Virtual Reality” is higher in the cities. There is a gap between the interest in the technology itself and the need for content in places where people are mostly isolated. Which leads me to think about the question we opened with. Is this technology is going to make us more lonely or isolated?

This is a question we’ve heard a lot when VR surfeited. Are we going to live in our virtual reality and not leave the house? I think this comparison shows us the difference. It shows the need for this technology in places where we are lonely or aren’t able to go out with people.

Let's also consider the combination of VR with Bluetooth operated toys like Kiiroo. We can connect and share experiences even if we are not in the same physical place, and that my friends, is a new chapter for humanity. Now my thoughts have changed from futuristic 'Orgasmatrons' and added a new layer of connecting people in an intimate way.

That’s the focus of Facebook’s work with Oculus. They call VR the empathy machine, and I want to suggest that it’s not only the immersion that makes that effect. It’s also the disconnection from everything else around us to focus on one thing. It’s ironic that in order to get off our phones we needed to put one over our eyes so we could look around again, and focus on one thing.   

Get Out Of Your Head - Sexual Equality

I would like to touch a very clear issue. All the VR porn I could find out there is from the man/bottom’s first-person POV perspective. I could not find a single video filmed from another perspective. I also don't understand why we don’t see a lot of VR porn from the female perspective. Why can't I also find a lot of VR gay porn from the top’s perspective?

There is no technical reason for that, there is only a cultural one. I think VR gives us the opportunity to literally see things from another perspective. I think it’s a great opportunity to explore new things.

I think it’s time we will create collections of VR porn that will explore new angles. In regular porn there is no bias, people look at what turns them on. But when using the first-person point of view you see the world from their perspective, and there's only one perspective up there right now.

As a gay man, I can say that I think the rich will be the guys who will make VR porn from the top's perspective. I think it will be super interesting to see the female perspective as well. It can give a new adventure to curious people. VR is there for us to try new realities, so come on dudes, get out of your head. 

male stroking vibrator kiiroo titan

Is It The Future?

I wanted to look at what the pioneers of the erotica market are working on. What are the innovations the industry is talking about and if VR is included? I started by looking at the leading startups in the market today, and what I found is a lot of women-led start-ups that market for women.

Companies like Vibease and Crave, offer vibrators, and porn designed for women. And while these are great developments, I couldn’t find any VR among the USA's up and coming startups in the erotica market. Also, when looking at these women-led startups, it’s clear to see that they design their erotic content completely differently than usual porn sites.

You can find erotic podcasts, but not much visual content. If they steer away from visual stimulation, VR will definitely not be in their plans. But when you look outside the US, VR porn is in the conversation. In Japan, we see a surge in VR sexual games like “Wedding VR”.  It caters to female gamers who would like to tie the knot with an animated male character of their choice.

We also see interesting developments from Kiiroo, that are offering interactive toys for couples and singles. You can now purchase toys for him and her that are syncing to interactive videos and yes, to VR too. They offer either life sensation with your partner from a distance or a synced experience to a VR video. And there you have it, the dawn of the “Orgasmatrons”

orgasmotrons kiiroo

In summary, there is a future for better development in VR porn, but it’s still very early. If you ever wanted to be a porn director, now it’s time to grab a VR camera and start building your empire. There is a need for VR porn and there is an excitement for VR in general. But practically there is just not enough of it and not enough in good quality.

The reviewers are loving VR porn, but mainly for the promise of it. It offers a new and exciting product for the future. Right now, most of the videos mainly give you a headache. The demand for VR has grown, but the supply is still not there. So friends, go out and film more VR porn.

Written by

Nir Netzer


nir netzer kiirooNir is a Virtual Reality Director. He worked for JauntVR and directed 360 content for DreamworksTV, Oxygen Network, and more. This year he is launching a choose-your-own-adventure VR game called “#MURDER” and a VR horror series called “The Haunted Ride”. You can find them on all the VR stores and learn more about Nir and his studio at www.netzerland.comFor his spatial sound course head over to https://courses.vrtl.academy/product/spatial-sound-course

 



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