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When new technology finally filters into the mainstream, it’s usually been around for much longer than most of us realise. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that, outside of the military, the fastest adopters of new tech are usually the porn and gambling industries. Tech advancements filter up into increasingly mainstream industries, until they permeate everyday life.
With VR now helping pornographers and casino owners rake in even more money, it looks like other industries are taking note.
Porn and gambling, of course, can be huge earners, meaning their tech departments are happy to spend the cash in the early days of a tech advancement in order to keep their ‘wares’ fresh. Once tried and tested in this way, then more risk-averse businesses can invest too. For example, casinos were online before broadband was widely available, while many retailers slowly dragged themselves online and made their sites user-friendly, while porn sites experimented with 3D video as well as mobile streaming way back when.
Xavi Clos is head of Virtual Reality at CMP Group, which is the company behind virtual reality porn innovators BaDoink. Clos said the key to outdoing your rivals is in taking those risks.
‘In porn,’ said Clos, ‘everyone is doing more or less the same, so if you have an idea that works – in this case VR, or say 10 years ago, doing porn on mobile – the market is huge, and you have to use the spikes when the market is growing.
‘So in one year, VR is going to be everywhere – if you have two years’ advantage that’s a huge advantage. It’s a lot of money you can earn before everyone else arrives in the market.’
But even porn barons get it wrong. This was the case for Michael Abrash, who was one of the folks at the forefront of VR revolution Oculus. He predicted that wireless VR headsets were years away when in fact it took only months for HTC to release the HTC Vive. But his hesitance is understandable, given that earlier attempts at VR (like earlier versions of 3D) never really took off.
There is no doubt that VR is complicated and difficult to predict, but there have been great strides made with the technology in a way that’s different to developments in other areas – suggesting VR might finally be here to stay. The transition from computer-based online gaming to gaming on mobile devices, for instance, took a great deal of thought, design and development, but we can now visit sites like Schmitts Casino and enjoy numerous games including those live games that bring all the action right to your screen in real-time. VR is picking up at a much quicker pace this time around.
VR hasn’t yet exploded in popularity the way science fiction would have us believe. We’re not yet running around in The Matrix, but as more mainstream industries cotton onto the money-making potential of new technologies, these gradually get absorbed into everyday devices. Supermarkets might use VR to enhance online shopping. Mobile phones might take advantage of VR integrated with Google Maps or Tripadvisor.
Yes, it looks like VR is finally here to stay.