Is porn taking the lead in virtual reality?

Some days ago I’ve seen a nice comic on facebook about virtual reality (I would like to post it here, but it’s in Italian!). It basically showcased how every time we, VR developers, tell someone we work with virtual reality, everyone asks us the same question: “How about porn with virtual reality?”. That’s funny and embarrassing at the same time… maybe while working I’d prefer to talk about my project with full body VR or about the headsets that the market offers.

For sure there’s a lot of interest in adult entertainment in virtual reality, that’s why I covered the theme myself interviewing in this blog two very important people in the field: Jeff from PornFoxVR and Daniel from VRPorn.

Daniel contacted me yesterday to congratulate me about my recent classification inside the Top 50 VR influencers chart and so we chatted a bit about VR, blogs and so on. At some point, he told me about a recent study he carried on and that showcases how VR adult entertainment is literally skyrocketing. I think that this infographic says it all:

virtual reality porn statistics
VRPorn statistics about virtual reality and adult entertainment (Image by VRPorn)

Some data about this image are truly remarkable:

  • The search volume: as I’ve said, everyone is curious about virtual reality porn. So, my guess is that everyone that gets to know virtual reality, because it owns a VR headset or has tried it in some exhibitions, sooner or later will search if VR sexy content exists, at least for curiosity. Furthermore, considering that to enjoy VR porn it is sufficient even a Cardboard, every kind of VR headset owner can be interested in looking for this kind of experiences;
  • The traffic increment: +50% in three months. This is HUGE. An exponential growth. A gold mine;
  • VR Porn has more views than Oculus.com!!

I’ve tried matching some of the above numbers with stats offered by Alexa and the results are pretty coherent. VRPorn trend is this one and it is impressive:

virtual reality porn statistics
Alexa statistics on website VRPorn.com (Image by Alexa)

You may think that this graph is pretty normal since VR is predicted to grow year by year, but actually, this is not the case. When checking the traffic of other popular websites like UploadVR or Road To VR, I couldn’t find such a constant and impressive growth. So, this is clearly related to porn only.

In fact, the second infographic shows us that 60% of top 50 VR websites are actually adult entertainment ones.

virtual reality porn statistics
Top 50 VR websites (Image by VRPorn)

The most important and sad news of this classification is that I’m not in this list (damn!). The second one is that the most visited worldwide VR-related website is a porn related one. Oculus is only at the second place. Furthermore, most of VR websites that we thought were at the second or third place are actually down the road and that there are a lot of adult websites gaining more traffic than those ones that are gaming or news oriented. Again, Alexa confirms this all.

I have to say that I’m impressed: I knew that virtual reality porn was a topic around which people were interested, but I didn’t know it was taking hold this fast. Many people think that porn will help the widespread of VR and looking this numbers, I can only agree. If so many people want to consume VR adult content or be informed about how it is, for sure it will help VR to become diffused, as happened with VHS and Internet in the past. Porn is one of those sectors where virtual reality can really revolutionize everything: while in a lot of applications VR seems only a gimmick, inside porn, it is very useful since it enhances the immersion of the experience. VR makes the experience more intimate and emotional, so VR and porn are a perfect match. And with virtual reality devices evolving and becoming portable (Oculus Go is a perfect example of this), with an increasing resolution (Pimax 8K) and user friendliness (Microsoft Devices like Samsung Odyssey), VR porn will surely spread even more. Don’t forget that holidays are coming and VR headsets will be a perfect gift for gamers and such.

Anyway, as always, I’ve some critics to the above stats… that is:

  1. The chart doesn’t take in count all those standard websites that have a VR section. Porn Hub, for instance, claims to have 500.000 VR videos views a day and this means 15 million monthly views. It has been removed from the chart because it is not a VR-only website (and because it’s a great competitor for VRPorn! 😉 )… and the same holds for other websites dealing with technology, gaming, video and such, for which quantifying the amount of VR-only views become complicated. This means that the above classification is incomplete, because, for instance, there are not included all the traffic from 360 videos on Youtube;

    virtual reality porn statistics
    Pornhub virtual reality videos statistics (Image by Pornhub)
  2. Porn websites get found more easily: for a user to be redirected to Google to UploadVR, he has to type something really VR-related. Coming to a porn website is far easier, it suffices to look for some spicy words;
  3. The stats report that in August the top 30 VR porn websites had an aggregate traffic of 42 million monthly views. To them, we have to sum the views of sites like Pornhub and Xhamster, that have not been considered. So we can reach a number of something like 55-60M views. That’s great. But, at that time, considering all kinds of headsets, in the world, there were only 20 million devices. We have to take in count that many of these devices were Cardboards and Gear VRs taking dust: I think that the active VR user base was around 5-6 million. This means that either all we VR devices owners had cramps to our hands, or the numbers are a bit inflated by non-VR users and other kinds of searches. The 63% bounce rate of the VR Porn website (Pornhub, to make a comparison with a standard adult website, is at 27%) seems to confirm this.
    Another way of looking the numbers is that some VR users are heavy users of porn content, so the distribution is far from uniform;

    SuperData research VR market
    Sales of virtual reality headsets according to SuperData (Image by Wall Street Journal)
  4. The stats don’t take in count other factors, like for instance engagement, activity and time of each session on the websites;
  5. Some big websites, like Oculus and Vive, have additional platforms. Every Vive owner, for instance, looks for games on Steam and every Oculus / Gear VR owner, on the Oculus Store. That’s traffic that doesn’t get counted in the above stats. Because the truth is that Oculus website is not that interesting: I use it only when I want to download SDKs or be informed on some Oculus news.

Furthermore, I always see the problem of VR friction. VHS and Internet were drivers for porn mainly because of removal of some friction (and shame). With VHS, people didn’t have to go to XXX Cinemas anymore. With Internet, people didn’t have to go purchasing VHS. Furthermore, internet porn has exploded because it is free. VR doesn’t reduce the price (at the moment it is increasing it) and doesn’t remove any friction. On the contrary, it may add it, since the user has to wear the headset to enjoy VR. What it adds is immersivity, is being part of the scene, is being emotionally there. We have to discover for how many people this is enough to justify the expense of buying a headset.

Despite the above points, I found the infographics very interesting. They show how adult entertainment is really taking hold in virtual reality and how it is becoming important in this field. Most visited websites on the web are social media and porn ones and the same scenario is replicating in VR. People are very curious about the use of virtual reality with porn because they really want to know how it is the sensation of feeling really there, really inside the action. And companies that have understood the potentialities of the medium and invested in it since day 1, like VR Porn, are now harvesting the fruits of that investment. Congrats to Daniel, sincerely!

Despite the fact that porn is blocked on all major platforms (Oculus Store, Steam VR, etc…) and it is forbidden in some countries (like China), it is maybe the most used VR product out there. The number that impressed me the most about the whole stats is the growth of the VR porn views: +50% is a massive increase. Whatever the number of false positives of the statistics, the increase ratio remains a reliable datum… and +50% in 3 months is really a big one. This shows how fast adult entertainment is going widespread. I don’t know if it is driving VR adoption, but surely it is driving VR usage. People already owning a VR device like a Cardboard, Daydream or Gear VR and that don’t know what to do with it, could continue to use that just to watch 360 videos, including sexy ones. That’s important for virtual reality: when people ask us what VR is useful for… well, at least now we can answer that is great to watch… videos :D.

And what are your impressions about the above statistics? Do you think that adult entertainment will make VR go widespread? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Skarredghost

AR/VR developer, startupper, zombie killer. Sometimes I pretend I can blog, but actually I’ve no idea what I’m doing.

I tried to change the world with my startup Immotionar, offering super-awesome full body virtual reality, but now the dream is over. But I’ve still not waken up…