The adult VR market is very, very green, largely because the entire VR space is even greener. Honestly, if you’re someone with a $.99 pair of Google Cardboard, you are an Early Adopter. Early majority? That on-ramp is miles down the road.
Is it ripe to be pursued vigorously by affiliates and content producers or are some other things needed before real growth will be possible?
The unedited transcript is posted here in VRBlunt.com. They asked about Todd Glider’s background, and career in the porn industry, as well as the history of the BaDoink brand, as well as the history of new product BaDoinkVR.
Kiiroo’s Onyx, for those who don’t know, provides a haptic component to the VR porn experience. This is awfully important since the key to virtual reality is immersion, or presence, or telepresence, and one can’t say they’ve achieved any of these three things when only two of one’s five senses are experiencing a virtual reality.
When compared with traditional forms of entertainment, how many users are currently already using VR gear to watch adult entertainment?
It’s impossible to provide accurate data. Anyone who says they have that data is being somewhat disingenuous. The market at this point is very, very small because the number of consumers in possession of a VR headset is infinitesimal, compared to smartphones, desktops and tablet computers. Broadly, it’s important to remember that, for all the fanfare, hype and truly inspiring VR programming available, VR as a tech is still incredibly embryonic. All of the excitement it garners is worthwhile and valid and appropriate, but what we’re most excited about, what’s worthy of all that excitement is the signals splintering off the tech. It’s not about what’s here now.
How will this change in the near future? When do you expect that VR will reach user numbers close to what we see today with computers, TV or smartphones?
The release of PlayStation VR is worth celebrating. Google Daydream, even more so. The levee breaks once eye-tracking comes to town. That makes foveated rendering possible. And once video resolution can be managed in a manner that does not require everything in your field of view to be displayed at max resolution, the demands on processing power will drop enormously, and many more consumers will be in the position to afford higher-end devices. When will VR gear be as commonplace as computers, TVs or smartphones? I think we’re a decades out, honestly. Consider that we all know one or two people who live without TV, live without a smartphone. They’re curiosities. They’re noteworthy. We’re still at a point where it’s noteworthy if someone owns a VR device.
Let’s talk a bit about the hardware. The most widely used way right now for VR could be solutions similar to Google Cardboard, since these are the easiest, and by far cheapest solutions. Is the quality of such devices good enough for VR porn?
At BaDoinkVR, we were the first to give away Google Cardboard with every subscription to our VR porn site, but these are, to put it colloquially, gateway drugs. They don’t deserve a place on the shelf alongside your other gadgets. They’re here to give you a taste, and encourage you to purchase something better—like Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive. That’s what makes the release of Google Daydream so exciting. Most people are not going to jump from cardboard to Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. They’ll jump to a mid-range device. Up until recently, that meant Gear VR, and Gear VR, good as it is, works with only a few Samsung phones. With Google Daydream, we see many, many more manufacturers agreeing to release phones supporting the platform. That gives the entire market a nice kick.
What art the minimum requirements a VR headset and the hardware should have to create an enjoyable experience for the user?
Any smartphone released in the last two or three years, with Google Cardboard, or cardboard equivalent, is sufficient to enjoy VR porn. However, the average consumer is not going to watch VR porn in lieu of non-VR porn until, at minimum, they’ve acquired a device that is mid-range or higher.
Other solutions from Oculus, Sony or HTC are far more pricy. Does the user see the difference? And will he be willing to pay the higher price to watch adult entertainment on these devices?
The experience on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift is, hands-down, superior to the experience on Cardboard, or Gear VR, or any smartphone-driven solution. As far as willingness to pay a higher price, I believe that anyone considering the purchase of one of these high-end devices, when listing the pros and cons of purchasing, he or she definitely puts ‘VR porn’ in the plus column.
I doubt that those companies actively support porn on their devices, if they not even try to obstruct it all together. How easy or complicated is it to enjoy VR porn on Rift, Sony VR or the Vive?
Watching VR porn on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift is as easy as watching VR porn on a smartphone, if not easier. In fact, BaDoinkVR even offers its own desktop player to subscribers. Watching VR Porn on PlayStation VR is also possible with BaDoinkVR, though, at this point, the process is a bit more convoluted.
Will the consumers readily pay for VR content?
They will and do. BaDoinkVR is already profitable, and consumers, at large, see VR content as something separate from ‘normal’ porn. At this point, scarcity certainly has a hand in that. But it’s also an acknowledgement of the quality. Video sharing sites, which are the reason that consumers haven’t expected to pay for porn for nearly a decade now, are lowest-common-denominator channels of distribution. They’re McDonalds and Taco Bell. VR porn, by comparison, is sitting down at the best steakhouse in town.
How will the market for VR porn develop within the next year?
It will continue to grow, the result of more devices hitting the marketplace, the result of more people experiencing virtual reality for the first time. Once you’ve tried it, VR porn leaves a lasting impression. The challenge for everyone in the VR space is convincing people to put those goggles on for the first time. Once he or she does, there’s no going back. They never look at porn the same way again.
Referencing my quote in TrustedReviews.com, PanArmenian discusses likelihood of Apple’s entry into the virtual reality marketplace. As I’ve stated myriad times, I believe it’s inevitable. They’ve got to get their mojo back. I read my quotes and wonder if I wasn’t a little bit harsh. Where Apple is concerned, and their commitment to being tech’s premiere word-changing visionary leaders, I believe that time’s up, and hubris is the driving force.
Apple is unbelievably cash rich, and can explore so many other ventures in and outside tech to increase the power of their brand, and increase shareholder value.
Again the result of my interview with Trusted Reviews. In it, I’m chastising Apple for its so-so output of late, and suggesting this makes it ever more likely that they will enter the AR/VR market soon.
In a general sense, and speaking specifically to the US audience, where sex ed is non-existent, the realization was always there. Where it is taught in the schools, it’s not taught with much rigor. And at home, it’s one of the most uncomfortable subjects for parents to cover with their kids. Simultaneously, you realize—and there’s no shortage of punditry on the subject—that too many adults are getting their sexual ‘education’ by watching porn. That’s a problem, of course. Pornography is not educational, and pornographers are not educators. It is entertainment, and we are entertainers. That said, the idea of using VR to help adults improve their sex lives came to me well over a year ago. I was attending a VR/AR MeetUp here in Barcelona. Among the startups in attendance was a company offering an exposure therapy program for sufferers of acrophobia. You donned a pair of VR goggles and were instantly transported to a freight elevator, outside a skyscraper a mile high. The experience was convincingly real. So, that got me thinking about what we could do. There are no shortage of sexual hang-ups out there. We thought, with the right guidance—we hired a proper sex therapist to help with the script and direction—we could produce a program to help people become better, more attentive lovers.
Before we dive into an explanation of Virtual Reality Porn, let’s discuss the more general topic of Virtual Reality.
First, The Bad News: Virtual Reality is difficult to explain. It is simply hard to put into words. Think of your favorite food. For the sake of this discussion, let’s say it’s pizza. How would you describe pizza to someone who’s never had it before? Never tasted piping hot mozzarella sprawled across a layer of tangy tomato sauce baked into a bed of wood-fired dough. No matter how accurate the description, no matter how deliciously you explain it, conveying the taste of pizza, the joy of eating pizza is a challenge. To get the full effect, pizza must be experienced: it must be smelled, tasted, savored.
When was the idea to make “Virtual Reality Porns” created and who created this idea?
While we have been marketing adult content online since 2002, we are first and foremost, a tech company. Always have been. Whenever new tech hardware hits the consumer market, we buy it. So we naturally ordered a pair of Google Cardboard. This was the beginning of 2015. We unwrapped the package, assembled the Cardboard, slipped the Smartphone inside, loaded up a stereoscopic 3D Virtual Reality video, and we were blown away. We immediately saw the potential. The difference between 2D and 3D VR was so profound. We knew that once the consumer experienced it, there was no going back. So we thought, let’s look into making an adult-oriented virtual reality product. It really, all started with a $10-pair of Google Cardboard.
Chelsea Stark wrote this piece for Mashable, published in Mashable April 17, 2016. She discusses uptake of virtual reality in general, the challenges and shortcomings, relative to device availability, cost, quality.
Simultaneously, she provides compelling proof of porn’s important role in the development and consumer acceptance of new technologies (Betamax vs. VHS for example). She quotes Alec Helmy, owner of XBiz.com, as he talks of free porn’s impact on the adult space. She mentions 3D, the fact that it turned out to be a flash in the pan, as another reason that the porn industry is suffering. Not sure I agree with that one, as I don’t know too many companies that bet big on 3D.
What impact do you feel virtual reality is currently having on the adult entertainment industry?
The industry, as a whole, is excited because, for the first time in a long time, we’re ahead of the curve from an innovations perspective. Right now adult entertainment is the killer VR app. It will remain so for the next year. It will, eventually, be dethroned by gaming; however, VR gaming isn’t there yet. It’s so early, and the VR games available now are rather anemic when compared to today’s most popular console and PC titles. On the other hand, in adult entertainment, if you compare VR videos to non-VR videos, it’s an open and shut case. The difference is undeniable. It’s a leap forward without a shred of ambiguity or doubt.