Adult Entertainment Expo 2016

Virtual reality: Porn’s next tech breakthrough?

To date, most of the talk about virtual reality has been focused on its impact on the video game industry. But many in the world of adult entertainment feel it could be the next big breakthrough for porn — and a few companies are hoping to stake an early claim in the space.

As it does with so many new technology fields, the porn industry is embracing virtual reality. Both established companies, like Naughty America, a prominent online streaming service, and start-ups are bringing viewers into the room through headsets like Oculus, Samsung's Gear VR and Google Cardboard. And while the user numbers are small, they're growing fast.

"Right now, 1 to 2 percent of our membership base streams and downloads VR," said Ian Paul, chief information officer at Naughty America. "But when you look at the numbers month over month, it's growing faster than any format we've ever tracked."

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By the end of 2016, he says, the company expects there to be 10 million to 20 million users watching virtual content industrywide.

That's good news for Fabian Grey. As CEO of AliceX, a burgeoning virtual reality porn start-up, he's counting on the surge to help his business grow.

AliceX pairs users with live Webcam models who talk directly with the viewer and charge a per-minute rate. That's a different tack than that of Naughty America, which offers point-of-view films where the actress maintains eye contact with the camera, intimating the idea that the sex the viewer is watching is being performed on them.

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