As distasteful as it may be, you cannot discount the impact pornography has had on innovation. Most technology that we take for granted nowadays was made popular because of this past time. After all, we all went with VHS tapes over Betamax because of it. More importantly, we now have secure online payments because it was popularised by porn sites. Historians have also revealed that one of the first mass-produced documents that arrived in Europe with the printing press was a porn magazine. Now, Porn has set its sights on the potential of VR. This leads to the question, will this be the industry that brings VR into the limelight?
Porn and VR
Virtual Reality first got its modern revival with Oculus and their first development kit headset in 2014. Not long after, we started seeing the first set of pornography videos in VR. This is at the beginning of 2015, so about two years ago now. Since then, there has only been growth and development in the field. What used just to be 360-degree videos are now fully interactive experiences. This is already a step ahead of many other content creators in the VR field.
Now, there seems to be more proof that the adult entertainment industry is taking charge regarding innovation. Several news outlets reported last week that CamSoda has introduced a VR mask. The idea here is that you can smell the video that you are watching. Of course, most reporters responded with varying degrees of disgust. However, this is a massive step forward regarding innovation. Does this mean that porn is the only one coming up with these crazy ideas? Not really.
The real innovators
Those of you interested in the actual technology might know that there are plenty of companies already experimenting with a smell. Last year Ubisoft showed off their own version of the hardware. This was just for their upcoming release of South Park: The Fractured But Whole, which has a farting mechanic. Yes, it’s puerile, but fits entirely into what South Park.
Ubisoft were not the only ones, though. Another company, FeelReal, has been working on both a mask and a full helmet for smell-led VR for the last year. Their range of smells is far greater than what CamSoda are hoping to provide. Even though they have received press coverage, it’s nothing compared to what the porn company has seen in the last week.
This is not the first time, however. Haptic feedback in Video Gaming has been around since the days of the N64. It’s a major factor in why the HTC Vive’s controllers were leaps and bounds ahead of what Oculus could provide until the touch arrived. However, many only started paying attention when they realised they could apply the same to sex toys. Whether it’s for long-term relationships, online prostitution or next-level pornography, VR-linked sex toys have received a lot of attention. In Japan, which has become almost synonymous with advancements in adult technology, so much interest was generated by these developments it forced an expo to shut. Again, this is technology that existed long before it’s sexual application.
What is Porn’s Role?
The reality is that the adult entertainment industry isn’t doing anything all that different from what others are doing in more family friendly markets. In fact, there are arguably far more innovative sectors out there doing really important work for the industry. What Porn is helping, however, is raising awareness for the existence of this technology. It’s driving the conversation outside of the technology bubble, which VR is currently suffering from. If this is what is needed to make VR mainstream, then so be it. In the meantime, it will make sure we have a steady stream of funny article headlines