If ever an industry needed a revitalizing shot in the arm, it’s the porn industry. In an era of piracy and free porn sites, Xbiz President Alec Helmy estimates profits are down as much as 40 percent since 2005.
But it wasn’t always that way. Before the Internet, tech was a great ally of the porn business: the advent of the VCR, pay-per-view and DVDs all provided new ways to sell product. The rise of the Internet, though, cut into those gains, and now the porn industry is again looking to a new technology as its savior. With the coming release of a consumer version of Oculus Rift and Samsung’s virtual reality headset for the Galaxy Note 4, the promise that VR technology could shift porn viewing from a 2D voyeuristic experience to an immersive 3D kind has the adult biz scrambling to get their Virtual Reality porn on.
VR debuted at Sundance in 2012, and Nonny de la Peña’s “Hunger in Los Angeles,” developed by Palmer Luckey, then 19, prompted him to create a consumer version of the VR headset Oculus Rift, which Facebook bought this year for $2 billion. Many say that virtual reality came into its own this year at Sundance, particularly with the VR interactive experience “Birdly,” a “full-body VR experiment,” according to the Verge, that allowed the viewer to turn into the bird flying above San Francisco.