Playboy to Publish Naked 3D Centerfold

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3dglasses “What would people most like to see in 3D? Probably a naked lady.” Those are the words of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, whose magazine will soon include a centerfold playmate photographed naked and in 3D.

The 3D centerfold will appear in the June issue, which hits newsstands this Friday with 3D glasses included. The subject of the photos is 51st Playmate of the Year Hope Dworaczyk.

Consider this a grab for attention more than anything; Playboy editorial director Jimmy Jellinek was quoted by MSNBC saying, “In today’s print environment you have to create newsstand events.” The environment he’s talking about is one in which Playboy circulation has dropped almost 60% in just four years.

For Playboy the “event” is 3D. For Esquire six months ago, it was augmented reality. The magazine came with markers that you could hold up to your webcam to experience rich media on your computer to accompany the magazine’s content. Sports Illustrated did something similar with its 2010 Swimsuit Issue, asking readers to scan bar codes with their cell phones to gain access to video content.

However, rich media and video content can be delivered on the web without bar codes or augmented reality gimmicks, so these magazines are struggling to match what web publications already offer. 3D images like this are easy to do on computer displays, too — though the readers would have to pick up some physical glasses on their own.

Though the Playboy’s gimmick is obviously inspired by the increasing popularity of 3D films like Avatar, Hefner said that the appeal of 3D movies is lost on him personally.

Nevertheless, he actually commissioned a Chicago photographer to take 3D photos of naked women back in the ’50s, but he decided against running the images when he realized how expensive it would be to include 3D glasses with each copy of the magazine, MSNBC claims. This time, HBO is promoting its sexy southern vampire TV show True Blood by sponsoring the glasses.

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