The Ongoing Evolution & Quest for Identity of Augmented Reality Porn

It’s still complicated, but the porn industry is setting itself up to capitalize on the augmented reality revolution.

Rewind to CES of 2015, when Naughty America released their debut of VR porn.  It was the beginning of a technology shift for the pornography producer and innovator, reminiscent of the days when porn was a major driver for the entertainment/tech industry.  It still is of course, as the numbers tend to back up the importance of porn to the virtual reality industry.  VR porn was an early adopter of virtual reality tech, meaning Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were tied in closely to Naughty America’s plan for pornographic dominance.

At this year’s expo, Naughty America displayed, not only a variety of VR porn (180-degree videos in 3D) on Samsung Gear VR headsets, but also shared a look at their newest innovation.  An AR demo was presented on an iPad, using ARKit from Apple.  The iPad displayed a dancer positioned in the middle of the Naughty America booth.  She’s on display, looking sexy as she poses and twists, but surprisingly she’s also fully clothed.  Also, surprising is that she’s not a video or a scan of a real-life actress, but a 3D render, more like an avatar.

The demo was created using Apple’s ARKit, a tool that can enable realistic and 3D AR on Smart devices.  When asked what the deal was, CIO of Naughty America, Ian Paul said it’s a demo of an app that they will be submitting for release on the Apple App Store in the near future.  No adult content, no nudity, just fully clothed adult porn stars inside the space around you.  All together not dissimilar to Holo, an app that puts celebrities in your home.

When asked why the image was a 3D render and not a scan from a photo, the answer was simply that the render looked better.  The actress’s movements and position within the scene were oddly realistic but it all seems like a divergence from the traditional Naughty America directives.  Apparently, it’s not supposed to be AR porn at all, seeing as app stores have a strict stance against any pornographic material.  Perhaps it’s a way for the company to branch out or increase brand awareness in order to funnel consumers back to it’s bread and butter pornography.  Either way, it’s an indicator that the pornography industry is paying attention and is excited about the possibilities of augmented reality and porn.

The question that begs to be answered is whether or not augmented reality is going to be the next big thing for porn or a tech that will remain unusable in this area for some time.  Even if it’s true what some experts say, that VR porn has plateaued, it’s still done it at an adoption rate of 25 to 40 percent of the Naughty America user base.  That’s a big portion of the company’s business and not one they’re ready to phase out.  3D virtual reality is just now starting to really hit the mainstream anyways, with YouTube’s new 180-degree 3D video format launch and companies releasing 3D cameras like Lenovo’s Mirage Camera.  Is this the VR porn influence at work?  One definitely cannot rule it out…

Of course, it’s important to always be looking forward, and AR porn seems the most likely route to get there.  Virtual sex in an augmented reality setting is definitely something that could be amazing for viewers.  Being able to bring a porn star into your own bed, without the limitations of the “scene”, would add another layer of realism.  Virtual companions or avatars are also one of the next logical forward steps – see Joi, from Blade Runner 2049.  Sex games and dating apps also stand to benefit from the added realism and dynamism that AR would potentially provide.

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