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Virtual Reality Porn Seduces Red-Faced Gamers

VR porn made its Electronic Entertainment Expo debut and it was quite the scene. 

Thrilling demos and scantily clad women are nothing new to E3, but this massive video game convention has never had an honest-to-God porn company exhibit in its halls—until now. This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles gave gaming enthusiasts the opportunity to demo fully explicit porn tailor-made for the VR experience.

Curious attendees were transported from the floor of the noisy convention to an XXX fantasy in the blink of an eye. As they moved their heads to look around the room, 3D audio and video paired with 180-degree head-tracking convinced the senses. As one of the women rose from her knees, she pushed her voluptuous bosom in the user’s face, whispering seductively in his right ear. The experience is so convincing that those who try it might be tempted to reach out and grab a handful. Some showgoers did just that, grabbing at thin air with great enthusiasm. Removing the headset and departing the fantasy can be a little jarring. Cheeks flushed red, many an attendee left the booth impressed with the future of porn’s potential.

In a written statement from the Electronic Software Association (ESA), E3’s owner and producer, the official comment is: “E3 sits squarely at the intersection of entertainment and technology—and freedom of expression. All our exhibitors showcase hardware and software that broaden understanding of how the world interacts with technology in a manner that is respectful of the event’s mature attendees. Regulations and processes are in place to ensure that all exhibitors adhere to code of conduct guidelines and help ensure a positive experience for everyone.”

Earlier this year, top-tier adult company Naughty America provided VR demos at the Consumer Electronic Show and South by Southwest, however E3 was the first opportunity to really gauge how receptive gamers were. Why does that matter? Selling VR porn to consumers requires they already have a VR device, whether that is the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vibe, or Google Cardboard. Gamers are more likely to already own one of these devices.

“It’s a logical place to target our marketing effort. If anyone’s going to be receptive to crossing that chasm, it’s going to be the gaming community,” says Ian Paul, CIO of Naughty America. “We’re trying to open a dialogue with gamers, like what do you want to see in our videos? A boyfriend playing games and the girlfriend is pissed and tries to distract him by giving him a blowjob? Or should we be trying to cast the performers that resemble characters in video games?”

From the convention floor, a variety of suggestions were made. Paul says some attendees requested a “hot coffee mod” scene, riffing on the sexualized mini-game hidden within the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas game. Some wanted to see performers cast as Chun-Li from Street Fighter or have a video done all in blue. With so many requests for cosplay, Naughty America may even consider branching out in that direction with VR, thinking about their future Comic-Con crowd.

“We’re seeing a parallel between the Comic-Con crowd and the gaming crowd around cosplay, so maybe we should do something about cosplay?” says Paul, making it clear this would be one facet, not the brand’s main focus.

Gamers requesting XXX action with performers dressed as game characters is par for the course. What IS surprising however, is their preference for tamer porn. Paul observed at E3 that the gaming audience is not the hardcore adult audience, as some of the attendees took the headset off and said “okay that’s enough” when they got to the anal beads in VR.

VR’s ability to create intimate immersion may have the power to bring porn back from the kind of extreme content it has become famous for. In VR, subtle seduction works very well, making basic sex very exciting (again). For tube sites profiting from ads, the more clicks the better, and often times the more shocking a video is, the more clicks it gets.

“[VR porn] is almost like a future-retro situation where we’re going back to ‘70s porn in a way, where storyline becomes very important. Creating a connection, this feeling of intimacy,” says Paul. “It’s not as important for it to be a three-minute clip of people banging in close-ups. There are other elements that are important in the virtual reality experience.”

Virtual reality porn may encourage companies to maximize intimacy over gag factor. If mainstream audiences are willing to pay for VR lovemaking, the makers of adult entertainment will surely rise to the occasion and produce it.

Gustavo Petro, editor of IGN in Brazil, has been coming to E3 for years and says it’s the first time there’s been huge buzz about adult entertainment at the video game expo. Petro tried out the VR demo, for work of course, and says one of the most impressive factors about it is the perspective.“The camera is close to the actress, when she was on top of me the perspective was the same as if she really were. It’s not that you can move your head around and see other things, it’s that the perspective is real. The actress is looking into your eyes, actually looking at you in 3D and the depth is very good,” says Petro. “As a game journalist and tech journalist I think this might be the next big thing.”