Study Says Porn and Games are Generating all the Virtual Reality Money, Surprising Nobody

By Tom Pritchard on at

There is a lot of virtual reality content out in the world, but how much of it is actually generating cold hard cash? People always seem to talk about VR as a fledgling make-or-break industry, but as it turns out there are two key areas driving towards virtual reality: games and porn. Which is pretty obvious when you think about it. Games companies are the biggest proponents of VR, and porn is, well, porn.

Porn drives technology, because people always want new and interesting ways to watch people boning. VHS and Blu-ray won their respective format wars, and both had the support of the porn industry. Coincidence? Hell no. And this latest development comes from porn app company SexLikeReal, which did some number crunching to see what was what.

Using its own data on porn revenue and figures from a recent Steam leak, it worked out that virtual reality accounted for $100 million in Steam sales since 2016. That's a 50/50 split between games and videos, and adding to revenue from Oculus and PlayStation you end up with around $130 million. During the same amount of time the porn industry generated around $18 million. Quite a bit smaller, but not exactly a low amount.

Alex Novak, CEO of SexLikeReal, said:

“It’s interesting to compare that figure with our previous research about the VR porn market in 2017, which saw sales of $18 million in gross revenue. Looking at sales over the same period as the data from Steam we estimate a total of $50 million with around 6,000 VR videos being released to date, with $15 million in revenue in 2018. So far, VR games and VR porn appear to be the biggest consumer markets.”

He also spoke of the popularity of streaming 'Tube' sites and how VR porn was more resistant to that method of porn distribution:

“The biggest porn sites are tube streaming sites with a business model that sets back the whole industry by giving away allegedly stolen content for free, for the cost of watching third party ads — with little to no money going to the actual content producers. Luckily, the negative effect of these tube sites is less severe for VR porn."

Not only is it harder to watch VR porn that way, it seems Tube sites can't keep up with the level of quality and file sizes virtual reality content requires.

We pretty much new all this, right? It's kind of obvious when you think about it, and given which companies are actually making content for virtual reality headsets. Yes there are films and other gimmicky things, but those are usually given away for promotional reasons. Everything you have to pay for is either a game or some smut. Still, it's nice to have some confirmation. [VentureBeat]