MIAMI — More than 13 years after XBIZ began its seminal coverage of the topic of virtual reality porn in January of 2004, a leading group of VR innovators put their best foot forward to reveal the current state of the art at the very first XBIZ VR Shootout.
One of the most eagerly anticipated events at XBIZ Miami, with a room-filling crowd anxious to experience the bleeding edge of VR porn today, this groundbreaking headset-to-headset competition revealed not only the state of the art but underscored the huge lead that adult has over the mainstream in this new media. Once again, adult entertainment has returned to its former leadership role in driving consumer technology’s newest frontier — with ample evidence of this assertion on display.
Held in the Mondrian’s Main Lobby Ballroom, the inaugural XBIZ VR Shootout enabled attendees to cast a ballot for their three favorite exhibitors, with the overall winner being named “Best of Show.” It was not an easy choice, however, as not only content, but products and services were on display — each of which offered its own intriguing advantages and benefits — making a single standout a matter of preference or application, and showing the diversity of this evolving ecosystem.
For example, CAM4VR demoed its VR solution for live cam performers, offering an intimate glimpse of a live model performing off-site that wowed attendees with its engaging immersion — helped in no small part by new camera technology that provides much closer focusing distances — allowing extreme closeups while maintaining a high level of quality.
Terpon also demoed its advanced VR camera solution, capturing live images of an on-site model, who actually appeared more colorful and vibrant in VR than in the actual room setting — an effect similar to the “punch” of high dynamic range (HDR) images, which added a certain zest that many consumers will find desirable.
YourVRPorn also had its new integrated VR camera solution on display, which comes as a complete setup that does not require a computer connection and produces ready-to-go video files that do not require stitching or other processing, providing a demo that featured the lovely Piper Blush, backlit against a hotel room window, illustrating the system’s ability to handle complicated lighting.
In addition to offering a special discount on high-end VR content bundles for XBIZ Miami attendees, HoloFilm Productions displayed a range of custom VR rigs for GoPro camera arrays that it is now selling, and which received considerable interest from attendees.
Daf Mask / VR Novels showcased its unique take on 360-degree VR content using a Samsung GearVR headset that put viewers into an IR BDSM scene offering something to see wherever a user looked. Other approaches were revealed as VRSexperience demoed its 180-degree stereoscopic VR adult content, while SimSense Media also attracted a throng of eager viewers to its VR fare.
Beyond adult-centric creators, the influence of the gaming community on the development of VR porn was evident at the XBIZ VR Shootout, with two standout showings of high-end content on display.
One example came from VReleased.com — the lone exhibitor to unleash the immense power of the HTC Vive headset on the awed audience — an advanced hardware solution that has a significant quality edge over the phone-based GearVR, as well as better imaging than the much-ballyhooed Oculus Rift. The company’s wide-eyed animated “kitty girl,” chained inside the VR space, displayed amazing motion physics as she responded to viewer’s virtual whippings — which also provided tactile user feedback through the hand controller, as virtual leather struck her pixel-powered skin.
For anyone doubting the future of VR, this experience will make you a believer, by illustrating the broad range of cultures and fans this forward-looking fare appeals to.
Vixen VR / VR Clubz, running a pair of demos on optimized Oculus Rift headsets, revealed perhaps the most highly polished and sophisticated of the content offers on display, with a tour of its virtual rendition of the San Francisco Gold Club, as well as a highly detailed virtual world that works as a doorway to content partners — with seamless, smooth transitions from computer-rendered environments to VR video — offering a glimpse of the possibilities this new medium can deliver.
Delivering an intriguing bridge between the convenience of cordless, phone-based headsets and the quality of the high-end units such as Rift and Vive, the Shootout saw the debut of Vrotica’s integrated headset that has no tether to an outside computer, nor does it require a phone to drive its display. Reportedly completed only a few days before the show, the Vrotica headset has great image quality, is lightweight and comfortable — and at a sub-$300 price point, defines today’s mid-range headset market.
Providing an integral part of the profit equation, Pletra was on hand to discuss its VR advertising solution, which, for example, allows producers of 180-degree VR to place ads into the “dead space” seen when viewers look to the far left or right of the scene. This is particularly intriguing as it makes free, ad-supported VR more viable, while providing monetization and navigational options for all VR porn providers.
Once the votes were tallied, CAM4VR was named the “Best of Show” at the first XBIZ VR Shootout, and presented with a sleek black trophy signifying this special honor.
Although it has been a long time in coming, consumers are finally getting their hands on the hardware necessary to view VR, while the adult industry has put all of the building blocks in place for the future of VR fandom — from content capture and creation to display, distribution and monetization — making 2017 essentially the ground floor for this new opportunity. For those who want to jump on the bandwagon, now is the time, with turnkey solutions available, and established players actively seeking partners.
With plans to continue the VR Shootout at future XBIZ events, one thing is certain: we’ve only scratched the surface of this brave new world of carnal connectivity, education, entertainment, and relationships, so hold on, it’s going to be an exciting journey!