Will We See Adult Entertainment Taken Over by Virtual Characters?
Back in March, although given the lockdown timescale, that feels like both last week and last year, I wrote about the online phenomenon that is ProjektMelody, for Future of Sex. I interviewed a webcam model and a client to get their thoughts, and you can read it here.
Melody is a 3D Hentai Camgirl, designed by game developer Digitrevx, who has amassed a following of hundreds of thousands since her creation in 2019. Melody streams on Chaturbate, an adult entertainment site that allows audience members to tip tokens and interact with the virtual star. She also has a dedicated Twitter and Twitch following (although she was briefly suspended from the latter for sexual explicit performances).
Now, ProjektMelody interested me particularly as I research the webcamming industry, looking at the interactions between webcam models and their clients. I knew that virtual characters being allowed to perform on livestreaming sites could have potentially significant implications for Melody’s human counterparts, and the camming industry as a whole.
Since Melody’s inception, we’ve seen a few other characters nudge their way into the spotlight. One such creation is Jedy Vales, a virtual porn star, who has hit a following of 38.6 thousand followers on Instagram.
Formed as part of a campaign by YouPorn to connect with users, the company’s new brand ambassador’s name was even chosen by AI, with machine learning and endless data providing a prediction of a porn star name from the future.
Even though the avatar has seen exponential growth in followers, Charlie, Hughes, the Vice President of YouPorn does not believe that we will see the replacement of human performers with virtual creations but that the company “doesn’t claim to know the answers to all of the questions about what AI means for humanity”.
Meawhile, rival porn site CamSoda has developed Camoji, allowing users to create an avatar which they can then control during a livestream for tips- perfect for those interested in camming without having to sacrifice their anonymity.
Inspired by Animimoji, the Vice President of CamSoda, Daryn Parker said “We wanted to introduce a sexy alternative with a twist. With the launch of Camoji, now anyone can get into adult entertainment and anonymously interact with people, all under the guise of a XXX avatar.“
Those keen to get started can record themselves performing different actions, which are then animated for the avatar to replicate. Using face tracking and motion capture technology, users will have the option to link up a character to their body so that the avatar will show their movements in real-time. The avatar customisation seems to be pretty crude so far, but it’s a concept that is certain to draw attention.
This allows even those not quite ready to activate their webcam to start interacting with users and collecting tips- perfect for combating the lockdown boredom.
For the time being, it looks like avatar performers are here to stay, with some of the bigger creations- ProjektMelody and Jedy Vales showing that they can hold their own in the adult entertainment space, as well as options for the public from CamSoda. However, with varying degrees of quality, and even the effervescent Melody falling victim to glitches, it’s worth questioning whether or not they will still be as popular, once the novelty wears off.