Porn Not Welcome on Oculus Rift

Jun 17, 2015 6:00 AM PST

LOS ANGELES — As Virtual Reality technology inches closer to a mass-market release, there is continuing confusion over whether or not porn will play a part in it all.

While recent polling by XBIZ Research reveals the majority of porn professionals (54 percent) believe that virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift will revolutionize adult entertainment, corporate policy makers seem determined to impose a PG-rated future on this groundbreaking technology.

This stance is hampering the hopes of those who envisioned (and wanted to profit from) a future oozing with virtual sex — and could stunt the growth of these new devices in the consumer market.

The porn potential of Oculus Rift in particular has been much ballyhooed with developer Palmer Luckey declaring that there would be no censorship of the content the device would be capable of viewing.

“The Rift is an open platform. We don’t control what software can run on it, and that’s a big deal,” Luckey stated, bringing hope to porn purveyors, but his say in that decision was removed when he sold the company to Facebook — a firm notorious for its prudish policies — and indeed, the company’s most recent pronouncement on the subject leaves little room for optimism.

“Oculus only distributes developer content that meets their terms of service, which forbid pornographic content from being a part of the Oculus Store,” explained a company spokesperson this past Friday — referring to how its devices would rely on an official media distribution platform. This will operate in a similar way to how Apple restricts the content that users of its popular iPhone and iPad devices access through its own App Store, which also prohibits adult oriented fare.

Although iPhone and iPad users can access adult websites through the device’s web browser, profitable apps are off limits. While some folks will opine that “jailbreaking” the device (a process by which safety controls are removed) will allow access to apps from unofficial sources, few users know how, or will risk the potential damage and exposure to malware that can result from this frowned-upon practice, which may also void the device’s warranty.

Android users on the other hand find themselves in a better position because of its open source nature, which in addition to allowing app downloads from the official Google Play store, enables access to third-party platforms, such as the popular MiKandi app store. 

It is important to note that there are other VR options beyond Oculus Rift, such as Samsung’s Gear VR — but as this device relies on Oculus technology, it may also face the same content restrictions.

The one certainty at this point is that where there is a will, there is a way — and the porn industry has proven to be both persistent and resilient when it comes to satisfying the massive consumer demand for its wares, even when opposed by prudish censors.

While porn consumption might not be a welcome use by device manufacturers, it is likely that VR porn will soon be widely, if not officially, available.

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