It is time to once again to do a 360 degree survey of the current VR landscape. We’ll look at how it is being used for porn now, and where things are headed.
In terms of VR headsets, things have not changed dramatically. The top players are still the HTC Vive and the Occulus Rift . They are expensive, but state of the art. The lower tier are the Sony Playstation VR , the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream, requiring specific smart phones but offering interesting features and good quality. At the bottom is Google Cardboard and the endless plastic boxes you can stick any smartphone into. The lower end still offers a cheap way to try it, but eventually you may want a better experience that includes the ability to move around in your environment, which is the major difference in the more expensive headsets, although it is not currently not a feature important to viewing porn. We wrote about these options in the Sex in 3D – VR Goggles article.
There are two new options. The $200 Occulus Go offers a low cost entry level version of the dedicated headset. It offers 1280 x 1440 per eye, which is better than the PC based Occulus Rift. It has a slightly smaller field of view, with much less of a screen door effect.
The Lenovo Mirage Solo With Daydream is basically a Google Daydream more powerful and double in price version of the Occulus Go.
This was also the year for Microsoft PC based Mixed Reality headsets. The reality is that these are mostly used for straight VR, and there is very little in the way of adult content, unlike with VR porn for which there is tons of content.
Here is the page of the current Microsoft compatible Mixed Reality headsets. These headsets have two cameras built in that transmit a left and a right image to the right and left eye. The headset can then layer 3 dimensional images on top of the real world image.
There are plastic phone headsets that offer augmented reality by allowing for an opening for the phone’s camera. Here is the problem though- while it works, your phone needs two properly spaced cameras for an actual 3D image. While there are 3D cameras, I don’t think the lens positioning will work in AR phone cases. The best an AR headset that uses a camera can do is show you 3D content on a flat real world background. Not totally useless, but not optimal either.
Mixed Reality (also known as Augmented Reality) is difficult to do with video, and has more potential for games. There are a few adult applications, and we will cover them in the near future.
VR porn continues to grow very rapidly, but in general, it is difficult to stream as you typically have to download the video file first to see it in actual VR. Otherwise all you’ll see is a 3D movie but without the ability to look around.
There have been no major technological headset advances this year, with the exception of Sony’s announcement of a new codec called “XEVC” that offers an impressive 8K RAW at 240Mbit. With that codec running on a phone screen or Headset screen that puts 4K in each eye, you get enough resolution to create a much more realistic and immersive experience. It may be awhile before we see it in commercial products like headsets, though.
For the most part, porn applications just let you sit and watch a movie you can look around in. Explorable environments are more a part of games, but could someday find their way into porn. When that happens, something like Cybershoes might come in handy. They are still seeking funding, though.