Exclusive report: Augmented reality and the adult entertainment industry
This article has an adult theme.
For the last 15 or so years I have been at the cutting edge of technology, always two steps ahead of the curve. I remember a long time back doing an event for Microsoft and talking about Smartphones. I met one guy in the audience after over coffee who told me mobile phones will never catch on. People have house phones and there is no need to carry a phone around with you he said. If people are not home when the phone rings, the caller will call back later, there is simply no need for a mobile phone. Well we all know how that turned out. After the event I spoke with another delegate over some beers who not only embraced the whole idea of mobile devices, but he wanted to know how he could deliver a mobile porn experience.
In my years of working at the cutting edge only two things with technology can be taken for granted.
- When a new video playback technology is launched, Stephen Spielberg will launch yet another digitally re-mastered special edition of the Star Wars trilogy.
- Porn will be the earliest of early adopters.
Skipping forward to the present day what has surprised me more than anything has been the lack of activity around augmented reality from the adult entertainment industries. Augmented reality would appear to be the ideal next generation technology that enables users to control their own movies but there is a distinct lack of content. So to answer the question, why is the adult entertainment industry not on the augmented reality bandwagon, we decide to ask the question to Quentin at Pink Visual, one of the leading mobile erotica companies around.
Quentin, could you start with a brief introduction to your role, the company and what the company does.
Officially, my job title here is “Director of Public Relations,” but that title doesn’t go far in describing my actual role at the company. In addition to the PR work, I also handle a lot of the company’s market research, statistical analysis, risk assessment, affiliate fraud control and I assist our in-house legal department where adult-industry-specific legal issues are concerned.
As adult entertainment studios go, Pink Visual is one that was created in reverse of the usual pattern; most studios our size started off shooting content for physical media and then branched out into online distribution and other areas. We started off in the mid-90s as a strictly web-based enterprise, and expanded from that foothold into DVD, cable, satellite and other more ‘traditional’ distribution channels. More recently, we’ve established ourselves as one of the leading mobile erotica companies – possibly even the single largest mobile adult entertainment company at this point. (Reliable metrics on adult companies are virtually impossible to come by, as there are very, very few publicly traded porn companies, and therefore very little data available on our competition for us to go by.)
History has shown that the Gambling and Adult Entertainment industries are normally the first to adopt any new technology and drive it forwards. Surprisingly there are no interactive augmented reality casinos or interactive adult applications available. Why do you think that is?
The adult industry is in an interesting place right now: on the one hand, there is a desperate need for innovation, and for development of a new means of engaging the consumer beyond serving up an endless series of dirty videos; on the other hand, many companies are struggling to keep their heads above water, financially, as a variety of factors have eroded their profitability substantially over the past 3-4 years. While the industry has a history of quickly adopting new technologies and new mediums for viewing and delivering porn – and augmented reality certainly appears to have potential in that regard – I think at the moment many adult studios are looking for a quick fix to right the ship, and the idea of tackling a new technological challenge is simply too daunting for them. To the extent that adult companies appear to be drawn toward anything “new” in relevant technologies, they are drawn to mobile devices, and to a lesser extent the potential of 3D porn. There’s nothing new about 3D, of course, but it is squarely back on the radar these days (owing mostly to the commercial success of Avatar, in my opinion).
It’s also possible that adult companies have looked at the technology and just haven’t figured out an effective way to weave augmented reality into their content or marketing. We’ve struggled with that question a bit ourselves; our initial demo merely scratched the surface of what’s possible, and in the months since we developed it, the challenge has been to come up with the concept that will resonate with our customers, and add value to the viewing experience that goes deeper than novelty and gimmickry.
Talking of 3D porn, cut very quickly to an excellent comedy moment from the TV program Jonathan Creek.
3D Porn – Jonathan Creek Christmas Special
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