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Will Porn Turn On Virtual Reality Sales?

Q. TV Answer Man, The Sun just published an article saying that porn could drive the sale of new Virtual Reality headsets. In fact, some adult industry types said the PlayStation VR will die without it. What do you think? Could this be the thing that makes VR big, so to speak. — Samuel, London, England.

This isn’t the first time that technology officials and journalists have suggested that pornography is the key to making a new technology a huge success. They surmise that the power of porn is so enormous, so hugemongous, if you will, that people will run to their local Best Buy, hand over their credit card and ask questions later.

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In fact, a new company called VRPorn.com has launched a subscription service that offers hundreds of VR videos and games for $25 a month. (Should we call it, Netf—?)

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“They may not talk about it publicly, but hardware companies are very aware of this,” a VRPorn spokeswoman told the Sun this month.

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But I say: Come on…

Ever since adult movies helped drive sales of the VCR in the early 1980s, journalists have written stories saying that adult fare will help drive whatever new TV-based technology has just been introduced.

The journalists seem to ignore that the conditions surrounding the VCR’s introduction in the 1970s bares no resemblance to what was going on when future TV-based products were introduced.

Think about it. It was relatively easy for adult fans to buy a VCR in the 1980s — the price had fallen to around $300 — and there was great motivation: it was the only way to watch porn in the comfort of your own home. (There was no Internet then, as you may recall.) Consequently, fans of the flirty and frisky film were happy to plunk down their hard earned dollars on a VCR.

So it was a one-time phenomenon. But that hasn’t stopped the media from going back to the well to make the obligatory comparison every time a new product comes out.

In recent years, there was a spate of stories suggesting that porn would persuade people to buy Blu-ray players, and 3-D TVs.

But it never happened. Blu-ray player sales rose with the launch of traditional Blu-ray movies — and players that offered streaming services such as Netflix. And 3D TVs? Well, they wound up as a big bust, if you will forgive the pun.

Now, in the case of Virtual Reality, there may be a few people who buy the goggles for a few extra giggles watching porn. But history shows that the number will be small. There’s so much porn in so many formats, it simply will not be a factor in VR.

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Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at swann@tvpredictions.com. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

— Phillip Swann
@swanniontv

 

About TV Answer Man (1214 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

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