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Virtual Reality Porn is Pretty Much Already a Thing

The Independent
Come on, we all knew this was coming... Where the internet goes, porn follows, and virtual reality is no exception. With Facebook, Microsoft and others in competition to become the leading developers for the software and the hardware, other facets of technology have been figuring out how to retrofit their output for this new digital frontier. Games have, obviously, taken the lead on this, but VR porn is making some pretty serious inroads.

According to a recent investigation, 10 notable VR porn sites have enjoyed a 202% increase in traffic over the past few months. The actual technology that goes into the production of VR porn has been in development for as long or even longer than the Oculus Rift and other similar headsets have existed, but now that such things are freely available, certain people are obviously keen to actively seek it out.

Between January and November 2015, 16.7% of Oculus Rift's traffic came from referrals, and 2.7% of that emanated from these VR pornography sites. Oculus themselves haven't explicitly said that they will do anything to block such content, simply stating that the Rift was designed to be open source, and they don't assert any control over what can and cannot be developed for it. Facebook, who own Oculus Rift, have looked less kindly on the issue, and previous reports suggest that they have actually looked into methods of blocking it.

The morality of pornography is part of an ongoing debate, and the legality of it is even murkier. In the States, they have the Miller test, which runs pornographic material through local screenings before it can be distributed, so for example, a magazine could be legal to sell in Washington state, but banned in Texas. Therein lies the issue with the internet, it has no jurisdiction. Through the years numerous attempts have been made to muzzle internet porn, but all of them have ultimately been deemed violations of freedom of speech and the freedom of information act. In the UK, a plan was put into action to filter out pornography from browsers through ISP tracking, but although it is supposedly in effect today, none of the major porn sites are actually blocked.

Porn has long been an influential force in the way technology has developed, typically when another 'format war' breaks out, the one that porn decides to back ends up being the winner. It happened with VHS, then DVD and then again with blu-ray. We probably won't ever see another one of those battles break out, but you can guarantee that the increasing popularity of VR will be mirrored and bolstered by the flourishing of VR porn.

Look at it this way, one of the smaller headset developers, Homido, recently saw a big spike in referred traffic to their site, and over 50% of it came from one particular virtual reality porn page. People are interested in the capability first and the hardware second, and in that sense, all this virtual filth might end up significantly widening the market.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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Virtual Reality Porn is Pretty Much Already a Thing Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 Rating: 5

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