Exclusive report: Augmented reality and the adult entertainment industry
I saw a YouTube demo of a Pink Visual’s augmented reality web based campaign where users were able to intact with content by holding up a marker. Could you tell us a bit more about that project, how it works, what users can do, and what the reception among your users was.
Our demo at the Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) was a very, very basic application of augmented reality, obviously. The idea was to give the fans that dropped by our booth a small taste of augmented reality, a sort of ‘introduction’ to something they might not have seen or heard of before. It works along the same lines of many other web-based augmented reality applications; the viewer holds the marker in front of the web cam, triggering an animated sequence. The demo has pretty limited interactivity, really; it amounts to the ability for the user to manipulate the angle that the animation and its corresponding videos display at by altering the angle at which you hold the marker.
In all honesty, the intended audience for our demo as much the news media as it was porn fans or end-users. The goal was to further the perception of Pink Visual as a tech-focused porn company, and toward that end I’d say it was quite successful. This isn’t to say that our fans didn’t enjoy the demo (they did, and we received a lot of positive feedback from them) but our target audience for the initial demo was the media, the goal of creating buzz about our brand.
In order for augmented reality to really catch on with consumers in a porn context, the technology needs to be applied in a way that enhances the experience of viewing adult content, and that engages the user through interactivity. That’s what we’re working on now, and the challenge that will drive our augmented reality efforts going forward.
Pink Visual demo from Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE)
I visited your website and didn’t find any reference to augmented reality at all, I was expecting to be able to try the marker demo I referred to above. Considering companies in other industries are using augmented reality as a gimmick to attract customers I was surprised that there was nothing. What is the reason behind the lack of activity and promotion?
We had a Conan O’Brien-themed version of the demo (owing to an amusing back and forth we had with the late night talk show host in January) highlighted on our main page through early March, but since then, the links to the demo have been confined to our ‘extras’ and ‘press’ pages. The reason we backed off on the promotion of the AR demo was to make room for promotion of some of our other recent developments, like our iPad-optimized sites, and to highlight other promotions and specials that we run.
As I write these responses, we’re at work on a new application for AR that will be far ‘deeper’ and much more compelling than our initial demo; rest assured when we’ve completed that work, it will be promoted very heavily on PinkVisual.com. Having said that, the original demo can still be accessed at http://ipinkvisual.com/ar/
My biggest surprise is that, considering the adult industry is so cut throat with hundreds of sites fighting for consumers, the challenge is offering consumers something they can’t get anywhere else. Augmented reality would seem to fit that bill but we are not seeing anything created. Does that surprise you?
It does surprise me – in fact, I was shocked that we were the only adult company that did anything augmented reality-related at AEE in January, and I’m equally surprised that nobody has launched anything in the interim. It’s also possible that other companies in our sector don’t have developers on staff capable of creating augmented reality applications. The only other option is to outsource the development, and I think the current state of the general economy, combined with the industry-wide revenue declines I mentioned earlier, is probably discouraging any outsourced development, as well.
One thing is for sure about this industry, though: once any single studio does something with any given technology that is perceived (accurately or otherwise) to have brought in money for the studio in question, you can count on their competitors copying them, far and wide. That’s just how it is in this space; it is very much a game of “follow the leader,” and once any studio demonstrates some success where augmented reality is concerned, others will follow. It is my hope that the trend setter for augmented reality porn will be none other than Pink Visual.
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