[Disclosure: This is a promotional guest editorial]
Virtual reality sex isn’t something that’s in the distant future, in fact it’s already here.
Like it or not, virtual reality porn is a large part of the VR experience, and is a main driving force for the technology. VR porn and video games make up more than 50% of the market and this unity is only going to get stronger. The line between VR video games, and VR porn is getting blurrier all the time.
Take Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, released in Japan and now supported by PlaySation VR. This “fighting” game is as much about looking at sexy women as it is about winning bouts in the arena. The game even has what has been dubbed as “groping mechanics” built in, that allow users to touch the female characters. Yes, it’s only a video game, but some people argue that it’s not a particularly comfortable thing to view.
This kind of blatant “soft-core porn” is just the beginning. There are already a ton of dedicated “VR sex” games out there, such as 3DXChat, Waifu Sex Simulator or Play Club – but these games are tailored and marketed to an adult audience. There are very little boundaries to control the spread of virtual pornographic material on the Internet, with much it open source and developers having a free reign with their creative abilities. This has led to our favorite video games having their characters used and adapted to feature in cosplay VR porn fantasies and x-rated VR games.
“One of the most marketable genres of virtual reality porn is cosplay. VR porn can really bring a fantasy to life around the viewer, so it makes sense that our favorite video game characters are making appearances. Cosplay is a hobby that many people share and porn studios like VRCosplayX are taking it to the next level.” That was Mike Hartman of the NSFW VRSmash, speaking about the cosplay influence on VR.
The kind of scenes depicted in Dead or Alive can be pushed aside because they are just computer-generated images. These aren’t real women, they’re software, but could this lead to an erosion of moral values? While we haven’t seen any full-blown sex games for gaming consoles like the PSVR, that day is probably not far off. VR games are already turning more overtly sexual in nature, whether that’s because they are in a virtual setting or whether it’s just a sign of the times is hard to speculate on. Violating a video game characters rights isn’t really an issue, but if that could potentially spill over into real life, then that would pose a serious problem.
VR sex games have also opened the door to another new VR tech that is gaining momentum. Companies like Holodexxx have developed a software that maps an actresses face and body features for use in simulated virtual environments. The actresses share in the profits from any sales and have thus given approval that the digital versions can be used to do whatever someone wants. Modelling a virtual image of real world people, having the ability to augment them in any way and then have them perform whatever actions a user chooses creates some frightening potential. Do users have the right to take a person’s image without their consent and turn them into a virtual sex doll or something like that? This topic opens a whole new can-of-worms and could have some regrettable consequences. While VR gaming and VR sex games are a far cry from the scenario described, it seems like just a matter of time before it becomes more difficult to define the boundaries.