Although far from being the only virtual reality (VR) portal on the internet, VRBangers has repeatedly shown it means business since launch, a growing number of videos, many featuring legendary names from the porn business.
With its mission to “Make America Hard Again”, the site has been keen, not only to create great VR content, but also to push the boundaries of new technology as it blossoms.
That means that VRBangers works straight out of the box with everything from a Google Cardboard to an Oculus Rift and all points in between.
Better still, though, it has worked hard on keeping the image quality leading edge too, to the extent that, if you have equipment that supports it, you can watch in glorious 6K versions of selected titles. VRBangers claims to be the first studio in the industry to make this switch, and we suspect it won’t be long before some 8K experiments creep in too.
The ARConk App
Today though, we want to focus on the company’s augmented reality (AR) offering. AR differs from VR because, rather than placing yourself in a completely virtual environment, it places virtual objects in your real world view. Today, we’re not giving review scores, as we’ve only tested it on phones, not AR headsets.
That means that, with a bit of set up, you can be in your room, in the company of your dream sexual partner, and indeed, in them, at least virtually.
VRBangers has partnered with viewer app ARConk (available from the Google Play Store for $4.99, with an iOS version in preparation), but also works with all major VR headsets including Vive and Oculus.
To start with, you customise your quite-hot-but-not-that-realistic-looking model, including scaling (pinching and zooming) her avatar to fit your environment. You can add your favorite positions from an underwhelming range of “5+” (there’s actually around 15 so we’re not sure why that figure is mentioned) and away you go.
We’d like to have seen more customization options – a choice of models, the look of the model, preferred vital statistics, and given that the Karma Sutra was compiled 1800 years ago, it’d be nice to have seen more than a handful of positions. It’s not like they would have been short of inspiration.
All that said, it’s fair to say that we’re working at the bleeding edge of sex tech here, and we would imagine that these type of features will be added to future updates.
VRBangers proudly boasts that the model used to create the avatar was filmed using ‘4D Volumetric Technology’, which it claims adds realism to the way she moves and responds.
The promo video for the app, which sees someone looking worryingly like 90’s rapper Goldie setting up the model to his preferences, certainly suggests that there’s been a lot of work put into realistic movement, but for a site that boasts 6K content for its VR offerings, our avatar might move like a human being, but her look is still very much the wrong side of the uncanny valley – slightly cartoonish and most likely out of place in your bedroom.
From some angles, her pupils actually disappear. Whilst it’s unlikely anyone has downloaded ARConk to stare into her eyes, it’s nevertheless quite disconcerting, giving you the feeling that you’ve found the one Stepford Wife with a libido.
Although we started this overview praising VRBangers for its innovation and cross-platform compatibility, this lowest common denominator approach means that the model renders with resolution akin to the ‘dancing baby’ from the early days of the internet – and let’s face it, that thing was just creepy.
All of which leaves one feeling that this is promising tech, that isn’t close to being ready yet. One of the most important things for an Augmented Reality sexual encounter for many people will surely be that your virtual partner is natural, plausible, and looks like she’s meant to be in the room with you.
Sadly, at this stage, our heroine is none of those things. Yet. But with a solid proof-of-concept behind it, there’s little question that what, at this stage, feels like something of a novelty, could well go on to be one of the most realistic and satisfying forms of porn content – eventually.
Right now, consider it a ‘curiosity’ that either needs to get better quickly, or we’ll be laughing about in a few years’ time. We’re looking at you Nintendo Virtual Boy.