Yes, I tried VR porn and it sucks

With Virtual Reality becoming big, porn is one industry which will see an imminent shift in consumption; from the smartphone to VR headsets.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Updated: March 7, 2016 3:57 pm
VR porn, Samsung Gear VR, Gear VR, Virtual Reality, VR Porn, Pornography in 360, Sunny Leone 360 video, technology, technology news The author when he tried the Samsung Gear VR headset when it was launched during the IFA at Berlin.

I did it. Curiosity did get the better of me. I said those damned words as I peered into two soda-glass lenses affixed in front of my de-spectacled eyes.

Yes, I said “VR Porn”.

Before you think I am depraved or perverted, let me tell you there is a sound journalistic, and technological, reason for me venturing beyond curated 360-degree confines created by Samsung and Oculus to the dark underworld of the Internet.

While we deride porn for its impact on our moral faculties, this multi-billion dollar industry has contributed immensely to technology in general and the Internet in particular. So it is only natural that the first adoption of a technology like virtual reality will happen first in this industry, which still commands a considerable amount of traffic on the internet. In fact, it was only a couple of years back that social media overtook porn as the biggest segment on the web.

And I was not wrong. The “VR Porn” voice command on the Gear VR — you can attempt to type too using the headset, but it will be a pain in the neck — conjured up many old porn giants who had experimented with the new medium, as well as new sites which clearly seen an opportunity in the new format.

I was under the impression that you had to tweak settings to play this stuff, but I didn’t need to. In fact, it was as easy as going to YouTube and playing a video. Actually, YouTube too has its share of VR content which played on the Gear VR.

With all streamed video, not just porn, the software gives you the option of playing in 2D, 3D and 360-degree. The 360-degree version is best left to content that has been created for this format. Even with content that has been created for 360, the experience can be overwhelming. It is almost like you are a character in Honey I Shrunk The Kids and everyone else in the frame is trying to intimidate you with their size. It is just too much in my face for the experience to be enjoyable. It is creepy too.

However, the 3D experience is much better and gives you the feeling of being in a movie hall with a large screen. This is also the least stressful on your eyes, as the 360-degree video does give you a headache within a few minutes. And I think it will be the cinematic experience that will get people to actually start using VR headsets more and maybe some will opt for cheaper ones like Ant VR which do not even offer a 360-degree option.

Read more: Samsung Gear VR review: The power of the virtual

Coming back to porn, I see an imminent shift in consumption of such content from the smartphone to VR headsets, given that the latter is a more personal screen than the former and is not really expensive as an add-on.

But it does come with its bit of awkwardness. For one, you are cut off from your surroundings and will have no clue what is happening around you. While this lets you watch porn in a coffee shop, it also keep you in the dark (literally) if someone walked into the room. Plus, voice commands is not the best option when you are searching for porn, not knowing who could be standing next to you. And if you don’t have Bluetooth headsets, there is always the awkwardness of the noise coming out of the screen in front of your eyes.

That would be a good way to get yourself kicked out of a coffee shop.

Still, there will be takers for this genre of content, and I have a sneaky feeling not all of them will be induced by VR gaming.

Also, it is about time we started looking for good names for eye diseases that emanate from watching VR content for long periods of time. Yes, the manufactures are suggesting a maximum of 30 minutes viewing at a time, but then it would be really hard to get people to put the headset down if the content is really engaging. VRitis, anyone?

MWC 2016: Samsung Gear VR, Nokia Ozo take virtual reality mainstream

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  1. J
    Julia Candy
    Mar 14, 2016 at 6:47 pm
    It's cool. Proof
    Reply
  2. J
    Julia Candy
    Mar 14, 2016 at 6:47 pm
    vrphub
    Reply