Movies, Museums… Porn? The Many Uses For VR Headsets

As a gamer, when I think of the Oculus Rift, I imagine spending mindless hours trekking across the provinces of Tamriel, flinging balls of fire with my own hands at bandits and ogres. Or perhaps, sitting in the cockpit of an X-Wing as I lead the final charge against the Death Star. It would seem though, that the guys over at Oculus and rival companies like Sulon Technologies have much broader and grander plans than playing Call of Duty with a wider field of vision. All the potential players in the burgeoning Virtual Reality headset industry appeared this year at the Consumer Electronics Show to demonstrate their tech and the million and one uses for VR both in gaming and various other industries.

Believing their device to be much more than a gaming console you wear on your face, the team at Sulon is trying to sell their gadget, known as the Cortex, as a tool with a plethora of applications outside of simple entertainment. Their CEO has mentioned in interviews that he wants the Cortex to be used by everyone from engineers to potential car buyers. Instead of hunting demons, why not use the machine to link up teams of engineers and mechanics and allow them to explore potential designs and plans up close and in great detail? Build the product in a virtual space, and allow team members to essentially test it out in person before a prototype is built. Looking to purchase a new car? Why bother driving all the way to the dealership when you can load up the new model on your VR headset and take it for a test spin around the track?

Back To The Future
Back To The Future

Back on the Oculus side of things, that Facebook money is really helping them to push past the gimmick of a wearable console. The Vice President of Oculus, Nate Mitchell, has big plans outside of gaming, even though he still feels that industry is the going to be the bread and butter for their company. “"We've said from the beginning we're big gamers, and we started Oculus to deliver consumer VR and revolutionize games," he said in a recent interview with LA Times. “But it may well end up being that VR is more about film than games."

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As ambitious as this sounds, it seems like a no brainer that this is the route virtual reality is heading. At the Consumer Electronics Show this past week, the Oculus team used their headset to show off demos that included a museum tour featuring a “live” T-Rex, and a vertigo-inducing trip to the edge of a skyscraper that allowed users to peer at the traffic below. Several movie studios are allegedly already developing films specifically for VR headsets. Admittedly, the idea of being right in the thick of the chaos at the Battle of Helm’s deep sounds pretty awesome.

Movies, interactive simulations for students, videogames, corporate conferences and virtual design programs for engineers. These are all venues looking to take advantage of VR headsets, but we all know where the industry is really heading, even if no one is talking about it.

If you asked a group of people what they would use a holo-deck like VR simulator for, the majority of them would give the same answer, provided you assured them of confidentiality.

It’s porn. The biggest industry on the Internet and certainly the most notorious, it’s no secret that most people use the web to find naked pictures and sexy videos; and they pay top dollar for it. Imagine then, if one could sit at home and engage in wild orgies with their favourite celebrities, would anyone even want to play games anymore? As idealistic and grounded in reality as all these other ideas sound, the real moneymaking killer app isn’t going to be a virtual Elder Scrolls, or a “eat who I eat” history sim with Genghis Khan. It’ll be an interactive YouPorn.

So rejoice then, all ye socially awkward introverts. In the future, not only will you be able to slay monsters and shoot Russian terrorists in 360 degree vision, you’ll never have to face the tongue-tying embarrassment of trying to speak with a real live human. Just relax in your growingly disgusting armchair, pop on the headset, and enjoy your naked hot tub party with Gamora, Bayonetta and Blake Lively.