Next Generation Video Consoles Ready for Porn

Sep 23, 2013 12:15 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — Make a new technological device for consumers, and the adult entertainment industry will figure a way to put porn on it. This historical truth will be revisited this holiday season, as new consoles from Microsoft and Sony take the stage.

The November debut of the long anticipated Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s new Xbox One, will usher in a new era of connected, socialized game play — as well as new paradigms for digital rights management (DRM) — coupled with the consolidation of game play with other forms of entertainment; boosted by augmented reality, interactivity and more. These multifunction units will also feature new content monetization models.

The short story is that there is a lot going on here for forward-looking adult entertainment marketers and technologists to take note of, so let us take a closer look at what features these advanced platforms have to offer:

For those readers unfamiliar with the current generation of “video game” consoles or the varied uses that they and their successors are put to, consider that in addition to playing games, that these boxes contain Blu-ray Disc players, HDMI and Internet connections — making them ideal home theatre platforms — with many consumers using the devices to stream Hulu, Netflix and YouTube videos, as well as viewing their collection of BD and DVD movies. Fully featured remote controls make watching videos as easy as through a standard television or cable/satellite decoder box.

While the price of these units ($399 for the PS4, $499.99 for Xbox One) make them an expensive option for someone seeking a streaming set-top box, this additional application allows many families to justify the expense of acquiring a game system. As a cost note, Sony’s optional PlayStation Eye camera and motion detector is a $60 accessory, although Microsoft’s similar Kinect unit is bundled with the Xbox One.

That bundling isn’t to do you a favor, however, it is just Microsoft’s way of ensuring that you have all the components they need to take over your living room and entertainment flow with, as the new Kinect interacts with your existing remote controls or other devices — with the Xbox One designed to hook in between your cable/satellite box and TV, for a more integrated viewing experience. Worrisome to some privacy advocates, Kinect’s on-board 1080p camera, microphone and motion sensor are reportedly always on. The unit is also able to recognize a controller as well as hand gestures, offers Skype connectivity and not only understands skeletal movements, but reportedly reads your heartbeat as well — that last a handy feature when designing adult entertainment applications.

To illustrate the power of motion tracking and augmented reality, Sony released a brief video showing how the PlayStation Eye camera tracks the light bar on the DualShock 4 controller and then changes the game play while involving players in the action.

Wondering what kind of power it takes to get the job done? These consoles incorporate eight-core processors with 8GB of RAM, Blu-ray Disc, USB 3.0, HDMI, built-in Wi-Fi and 500GB hard drives for storing game info and downloads — but cloud connectivity, user communities and a constant touch point are where manufacturers are placing bets. 

For example, Sony’s DualShock 4 controller features a “Share” button that allows users to automatically post their last half-minute of game play to social media sites, allowing them to share their best kill or highest score. Microsoft has a similar feature, backed by a reputed 300,000 new servers on its Xbox Live service dedicated to the Xbox One.

This high reliance on developing a sense of community is causing the manufacturers to embrace independent content providers, whether they like it or not. Don’t expect to find any porn-friendly policies, but as savvy operators have found, even the iPhone / iPad is a great platform, despite Apple’s hindrance of adult oriented commerce. These platforms are no different in that regard, while offering significant opportunities for those wanting to combine technology with titillation.

Perhaps you have a game console at home. It’s likely your customers do, too. In fact, a video gaming platform may be the only disc player your customer owns — an important consideration if you publish porn videos for the DVD market. One major benefit over dedicated players is that these game consoles, when connected to the Internet, allow for the easy out-linking of content and offers from a video straight to the web.

According to Wikipedia, Microsoft’s current Xbox 360 was released in 2005 and has sold more than 77 million consoles worldwide since. Sony’s most recent foray, the PS3, was released in 2006 and has sold an estimated 78 million consoles worldwide. While these figures are significant, it’s important to note that the PS2 has sold more than 150 million units while the original PlayStation topped 100 million. The original Xbox hit 24 million.

While these numbers are large, they pale in comparison to the number of Facebook users, for example, but where they hold promise is that the audience is used to paying for games and other content, even if “sharing” is also a problem in this space.

On the console front, content sharing is being addressed in different ways. For example, Microsoft’s ambitious early plan for dealing with shared discs and downloadable content, which would require daily “phone homes” via the Internet and other Draconian measures, was watered down to allow for the trade in second-hand discs and other uses, after a large backlash from the gaming community. Sony’s stance is more open-minded — despite the fact that the company has seen substantial losses to pirates from its huge movie holdings.

The whole exercise illustrates the profound difficulties that even the largest companies face in trying to protect their content and intellectual property from piracy, regardless of the market segment they operate in.

All told, the upcoming release of these new super-platforms will bring with them a wave of creativity that raises consumer expectations for quality content, provides opportunity for publishers able to satisfy those expectations, and will reshape the way people interact with their media choices. There will probably be a line at the store on release day, too…

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