Category Archives: Articles

PhoneDog Sizes up Virtual Reality

Anna Scantlin (@PhoneDog_Anna) penned this post for mobile tech journal PhoneDog.com. In it she reviews the Gear VR headset, and then sizes up, more broadly, the larger  Virtual Reality space.

She compares setting up Samsung’s mid-range device to the experience of readying to use Google Cardboard, and then describes the experience of playing horror games in VR.

Black man in bedroom wearing Gear VR hedset, looking shocked at what he sees

Scantlin’s opinion? Downright scary. And she admits to being a person who is no stranger to horror games. I must experience one of these horror programs myself. Everyone describes them as powerful, immersive, and frequently, too horrifying.

Parenthetically, I’ve come across horror genre junkies who’ve tried horror in VR and view the heightened level of fear these programs precipitate in the pejorative, as if they reach a level of intensity that goes too far, is “unnatural.”

She also expressed satisfaction with less incendiary VR experiences like Ocean Rift and Star Chart.

However, in summary, Scantlin refers to virtual reality as a novelty, at least, for the time being. This observation, somewhat widespread, may get many a VR champion’s dander up, but it shouldn’t.  We are, and will be for some time, “wicked 1.0.” My only criticism of this post? She overlooks the impending widening of the mid-range headset field. Oculus Home and Gear VR already have a competitor in Google’s Daydream and Daydream View. Prices should drop.

As for her criticism of the bulky form these HMDs manifest? Impossible to argue with, and we’ve just got to wait. The day will come when strapping on an HMD doesn’t make one look or feel like he or she is wearing ski goggles in the living room–but not soon enough.

Sputnik News Explores Virtual Sexology

Once again, I’m late in acknowledging this press coverage, months late in fact.

Sputnik News posted this colorful article about virtual sexology in its Society section, positing that as virtual reality (VR) enhances audience engagement, porn is the first industry pushing the envelope.

Case in point: Virtual Sexology from BaDoinkVR, an exposure therapy solution that broadens the scope of erotic entertainment, promising to make people better, more attentive lovers.

Virtual Sexology star August Ames holding Kiiroo's Onyx approaches male performer
Virtual Sexology: Coming to a Bedroom Near You

The article talks of porn stars as sexual mentors, with August Ames the first, and by no means the only. Others certainly coming, their talents enlisted to spread the gospel of a sex positive lifestyle through education and VR porn.

Sputnik News does acknowledge that Virtual Sexology, on the face of it, appears to only target men. And how could it not be perceived that way? It’s from a male POV. I wonder, in retrospect, whether we should have split the program in half. Then it would have seemed more gender neutral. Might have been a good idea. But speaking of POV, hindsight gives one 20/20 vision.

Time was a factor though, and splitting the program up into two points of view would have likely required two days of VR porn shooting, if not a good deal more  pre-production work.

This isn’t to say that Sputnik was being pejorative in its observations. The article is even-handed, and via quotes from myself, indicated that it is BaDoinkVR’s goal to create more productions tailored more evenly to both sexes.

Parenthetically, props to the writer–anonymous unfortunately–for the fresh observation that the term teledildonics sounds like it was birthed in the Star Trek universe, alongside gadgets like the Food Replicators and Medicinal Hyposprays.

There are also some nice quotes in the article attributed to the Hernando Chaves, the sex therapist BaDoinkVR enlisted to write the script and oversee the virtual sexology production.

So thanks for the coverage Sputnik News! Virtual Sexology has arrived, and the first installment is only the beginning!

 

WordPress Integrates WebVR 360° Support

Good news in the blogopshere. According to this article in The Verge by Jacob Kastrenakes, WordPress now supports 360° video, though unsure whether this means it supports stereoscopic video.

Open source project WebVR is the key, and that means that you can watch, at minimum, 360° videos embedded in WordPress blogs.

One of the issues this brings up is a simple question: What is VR? In the annals of VR porn, we don’t think of virtual reality as anything but stereoscopic video. It can be 180° or 360 °, or anything in between to qualify, but if it’s not stereoscopic, the video is not virtual reality.

That makes complete sense. If you’re watching a 360° video, cool and interesting as it is, you’re not immersed, and if you’re not immersed in an alternate reality, then you’re not experiencing virtual reality.

 

VR Sickness: Anecdotal Concerns are Valid Concerns

This article appeared in CNBC today, written by Matt Clinch. Now VR tech wonks would undermine his observation because it’s one man’s opinion (never mind that that one man acknowledged the fact that this evidence is anecdotal). They would look at this article in a myopic manner, site a lack of data, seek to diminish its validity. That’s the wrong approach.

It’s impossible to argue that VR today is anything but embryonic, that however great the excitement, that most of this excitement comes from the signals we’re seeing, signals of what is to come. That is, again, why VR porn is the torchbearer of this new revolution. Even if the overwhelming majority of content is relegated to the category of demo, VR porn delivers.

But I digress. Nothing new there.

An employee here at BaDoinkVR noted a great sensitivity to VR sickness. It was particularly troubling since he’s a QA engineer. What he found though was that, over time, he adjusted, and grew more comfortable. It took a couple of months, but at this point he rarely, if ever, experiences it watching VR porn.

VRideo Calls It A Day

I came across this post in Variety today. It’s disconcerting; I’m saddened to hear it. I met these guys–sharp, amicable fellows–more than a year ago at VRLA, and was impressed by their platform. More recently, this past August, our affiliate manager reached out to them, and we sat down and had a Skype call about the viability of promoting our VR porn site BaDoinkVR.

I explained plainly: “I understand your hesitance (and I do). However, we can come up with a solution that will not risk tarnishing your brand, and it will provide you with some much-needed cash.”

Though reticent, they expressed interest, and said they would get back in touch with us. It was a productive conversation. I was actually optimistic, but nothing came of it. And now they’re gone.

As I said, I get it, but it is vexing to know–and I acknowledge there were likely nuances I’m not privy to, and I’m also being reductive–that facing an existential crisis, companies would rather die than consider aligning themselves with a perfectly legal, above-board, well-respected company in the adult entertainment space.

VR Porn Transcript from Kiiroo Interview

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got into the industry?

I hail from the United States, and got my start in this industry in 1998. I was living in Los Angeles at the time, and was initially hired by one of the first adult (i.e. porn)Internet companies in the world to write erotic copy for their web properties. This was early on, so content was primarily photographic, and corresponding copy was a necessity. I eventually took the position of Creative Director, and the company itself was acquired by a publicly traded company in the US focused on TV and satellite distribution of adult content. 

Black & White photo of August Ames wearing Gear VR headset

Can you tell us something about Badoink?

BaDoink.com (we call it BaDoink VIP now) was launched more than 10 years ago as a subscription-based website. Its focus was more on the delivery of content than the production of content. The site had thousands of videos, of course, but all of our R&D was put into tech. We created the BaDoink Ultra App, a companion software for desktop that allowed subscribers to access all the content of the site via the app, avoiding the web entirely. And it had a number of features which were pretty cutting-edge at the time. For example, a DVD burner for creating compilations, a media encoder for converting files to different formats, a download manager, and even a DLNA media server, allowing one to stream any video to any network-aware device in the home. The site was successful, but its greatest success came later, when the smartphone market opened up. BaDoink was among the first sites in adult to be optimized for smartphone, and we optimized it well. The results were mammoth growth for the brand and the company.

Can you tell us something about Badoink VR?

BaDoinkVR is a subscription-based website offering exclusive virtual reality content. We produce all the content, as well as the player software needed to watch virtual reality content on smartphone or desktop. The site launched in July 2015, and has been growing quite impressively ever since. We were among the first virtual reality porn sites to go live, and the first to offer free Google Cardboard with every subscription. At minimum, we add 1 new video every week—often more. 

Are you satisfied with the state of the Sex-Tech industry as of 2016?

Well, to me, Sex-Tech IS the industry. Sex-Tech, it’s a more modern, more accurate name for the “Porn Industry.” If your trade is adult entertainment, technology is a huge part of your business (by that I mean software and web development, traffic optimization, design and UX). Any successful company, any new company making a go of it must see tech as key to their survival and longevity. Gone are the days when studios could just be studios—produce great content and tacitly rely upon third parties for distribution. And I would argue that, in the case of all successful companies in the space, the ‘tech’ comes before the ‘sex’ by a great margin. That was an awfully long preface to addressing your question. I am satisfied with the state of the industry. There are a number of reasons to be upbeat. The tech itself, be it virtual reality or teledildonics, is exciting. I can’t speak with much authority on the latter, but where virtual reality is concerned, Sex-Tech is leading much of the innovation. Sex-Tech is the only industry with a VR business model. Another reason to be optimistic: the media has really embraced Sex-Tech in a way that it never has in the past. It’s covered by mainstream presses in an unprecedented manner. This subject, previously taboo, is now part of the pop-cultural conversation. In addition, there’s the changes we’re seeing on the popular free porn sites. Those sites that forced the industry to rapidly grow up, or, taking a more pejorative tack, brought the industry to its knees, are doing a better job of working with studios than ever before. So, again, plenty of reason, to be optimistic.   

In your opinion, what kind of challenges does Sex-Tech face, inside and outside the industry?

The industry itself is made up of literally thousands of small companies around the world. Add to that the fact that so many of these companies are scratching and clawing to grow, to survive, it makes it difficult to build consensus, to bring everyone under one umbrella—for example, for the purpose of lobbying, and affecting legislative change. As well, as refreshing as it is that the mainstream media is fascinated by us, and talking about us, VCs and Silicon Valley tech companies continue being very hands off, pretending we don’t exist.   

Geekwire Q&A About Virtual Reality Porn (unedited)

Could you briefly summarize the current state of porn in VR?

Virtual reality porn, at its best, illustrates the potential and promise of virtual reality better than any other medium. If you compare a good virtual reality porn video to any 2D porn video, the difference is so stark, so immediate, so undeniable, so visceral you can’t help but surrender to the possibility that this new tech is the next big mass communication medium. “VR is interesting, but everything seems like a demo.” One hears that sentiment a lot, and it’s not off the mark. Most VR programs hitting the market today are simply demos. With porn, that is not the case. VR porn videos are complete, entertainment products—with beginnings, middles, and ends. They don’t exist to demonstrate how interesting the tech is, they exist to entertain a mass audience through use of the tech.

Google Cardboard on Katie Morgan
Katie Morgan loves BaDoinkVR

Continue reading Geekwire Q&A About Virtual Reality Porn (unedited)

VRodo (Germany): Porn is the Killer VR App!

Alright. Well, that’s what I said anyway. This is a solid article, written byTomislav Bezmalinovic, and it is gratifying to get a headline. if only I understood German, as Google Translate certainly does it a disservice.

There is much talk in it about  innovations like Google Daydream, an anecdote from me about my first experience with Google Cardboard, how that inspired the development of BaDoinkVR. Bezmalinovic reveals a bit of the process of producing VR content, the associated challenges for producers, shooters and performers.

August Ames holding Gear VR VR headset
Perfect Pair: Virtual Sexology & VR Porn

Bezmalinovic also writes about our Virtual Sexology product, and its goal to make men and women, better, more attentive lovers.