Even though few will admit it but: people love porn. Here, we said it! And thanks to VR,  viewers can be right there in the action. Or as the CEO of Badoink VR, Todd Gliderr says: “VR porn really exploits the potential of the tech in a way no other industry can.”

There is no doubt that adult entertainment is going to make a big splash in VR and will also help Google to sell a lot of Daydream View headsets. Reason enough for Daydream District to dedicate a new series to “VR and the adult entertainment industry“. As part one of the series, we interviewed Todd Glider, CEO of BadoinkVR, which is one of the big players in VR porn.

todd-glider
Todd Glider, CEO BadoinkVR.com

Daydream District: “Thanks a lot Todd for taking your time for this interview! Please tell us a bit more about Badoink VR. Since when does the VR department exist? What were the first VR headsets you supported? What do you support now?”

Todd Glider: “BaDoinkVR was launched in July 2015. We decided to throw our collective hats in the ring towards the end of 2014, when we first got our hands on Google Cardboard. Once we dropped in a smartphone, and looked through those duo-convex lenses, and saw 3D stereoscopic video for the first time, we were blown away. We thought, “This might be the next big thing.” So that was the moment. Shortly thereafter, the R&D kicked off. On the content side, we began learning how to shoot. On the development side, we began developing the VR players needed to watch virtual reality content on any device. At launch, BaDoinkVR.com, by virtue of our native mobile player and desktop player, was able to support all available devices, so that included Gear VR and all smartphone-driven headsets, Oculus Rift and, when it launched, HTC Vive. We’ll be ready to support PlayStation VR and the Google Daydream platform when the time comes as well.”

Daydream District: “What feedback have you received from users when the VR content was first up? We imagine it was mostly positive, but we would still like to know about the reception in general.”

Todd Glider: “We’ve a very active feedback forum behind the paywall of BaDoinkVR. Our members are quite vocal, and passionate. Feedback has been positive from the beginning, but the consumer base, since we’re still very much in the early adopter phase, tends to be quite critical. I don’t say that to be pejorative. Their insights are often very valuable, shaping how we improve our shooting and tech. That’s one of the fun things about being on the bleeding edge of this revolution. It all feels so crowd-sourced and democratic, and everyone, from venture capitalists to silicon valley darlings to multinationals to the people who post on Reddit and in our feedback forum, is pushing the envelope further.”

Daydream District: “For the content creation process, what are the major difficulties as compared to standard porn? Do the actors have a preference for one over the other?”

Todd Glider: “There are fundamental differences. It’s very DIY. The camera technology is very different, and you’re basically using camera tech that was not specifically made for creating stereoscopic 3D content. In a perfect world, a VR porn shoot is accomplished in one take with no cuts. That’s very different from a normal 2D shoot, which has many, many cuts by design. As a result, it’s often prudent to rehearse the scene with the performers before the cameras roll. Once the cameras are rolling, if the shoot is from the male POV—which most are—the blocking is starkly different. The male is asked to remain as still as possible. The consumers don’t want to see his hands, don’t want to hear him speak or breathe. He must resist the urge to reach up and touch his scene partner. The female talent—again assuming a male POV—must concentrate on staring into the camera lenses, not the eyes of her scene partner. She can move forward, closer to the camera, but not too close. She can move backwards, away from the camera, but not too far back. Same with moving to the left and right. It’s all strictly choreographed. Some performers prefer VR because their fans love it; it’s the closest they’re ever going to get to fucking their favorite porn star. Others find it more challenging, too awkward and demanding. But, at the end of the day, the reason a VR production is double the cost of a non-VR production, is the post-production process, which is much more time-consuming than post for a non-VR porn video.”

Daydream District: “What camera setup do you use for your VR shoots? Did you develop that solution yourself or are there already industry standards by now?”

Todd Glider: “I’m not at liberty to discuss our setup because it’s a trade secret, precisely because there are no industry standards at this point. The truth is out there, regarding how best to shoot VR, but it’s not in our interest to serve it up on a silver platter to present and future competitors.”

Daydream District: “What makes BadoinkVR special as compared to the competition? Could you tell us a bit more about what you offer your customers?”

Todd Glider: “We have more content than most of our competitors. And I would argue that our content is more creative, has higher production value, and is more immersive than our competitors as well. We’ve launched a Donald Trump sex tape parody in VR. We’ve unveiled Virtual Sexology, which is an exposure therapy program aimed at making men and women better, more attentive lovers. We’ve made cosplay videos. In addition, we have, since launch, offered a free pair of Cardboard to all new members. Plus, there’s the tech. We developed all the player tech needed, so the consumer has fewer hurdles to deal with. When joining BaDoinkVR, one doesn’t have to scour the web to find a compatible player. We have native apps in Google Play and iTunes App Store, a mobile web player that works with iOS and Android, and a desktop player that’s compatible with both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.”

Daydream District: “Do you plan to shoot scenes that are targeted towards women, from the female point of view? Have you received any feedback or requests from women who would like to see such scenes?”

Todd Glider: “We’ve shot several scenes from a female POV, most recently in late September, we shout a pair of scenes that mirrored one another. With The Mating Room, we shot a version from male POV, and a version from female POV. Feedback is always mixed when we post a new female POV scene. Most of our members are male, and watching a scene from the female’s POV is awkward for them. However, our female members obviously love it, and we frequently get kudos from male members who consume porn with their wives and girlfriends.”

Daydream District: “How important will VR become for the adult entertainment industry? Is it going to become the predominant medium? If you think yes, in which year do you think will the majority of porn be consumed through VR?”

Todd Glider: “VR will remain a niche for several years. The technology hasn’t evolved enough yet; the cost for a high-end HMD is too high for most. It’s all very nascent right now. Maybe in 10 to 12 years it becomes the standard way of consuming visual entertainment. A lot must happen first, though.”

Daydream District: “Google puts a lot of weight behind its Daydream VR platform. What are your plans for Badoink VR concerning Daydream? Will you support it from day 1? If yes, how is this support going to look like? What do you think in general about Daydream VR? And what do you think, which of the VR platforms will be the predominant one?”

Todd Glider: “I’ve been talking up Daydream in every interview I’ve done, and every speech I’ve made since Google announced it. It’s HUGE. It addresses the most glaring problem with VR uptake right now. On the one hand, you’ve got Cardboard, which is inexpensive, something everyone can afford, but it’s a ‘gateway drug’ that gives you a taste of what’s possible. It doesn’t have a permanent place alongside your other entertainment devices. On the other hand, you’ve got Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. They’re too expensive for anyone but gamers, techies and VR evangelists. Between those two poles sits Gear VR and the Oculus Home platform. It’s a good, affordable mid-level solution…if you own one of 7 Samsung phones. If you don’t, you’re SOL, or have to buy a new phone. With Daydream, and so many phone manufacturers committing to supporting it, that mid-level will fill out, providing a solid solution for users of many, many more phone brands. While I don’t think it will ‘kill’ Gear VR and Oculus Home, I do believe it will be the most popular VR platform for years to come. As far as our support for it, I expect, in the immediate term, that our content will be accessible in the manner it is for Gear VR. There will doubtless be an option for side-loading content in Daydream, in the manner one can with Samsung VR (née MilkVR). Additionally, we’ll ensure we’re supporting streaming via Daydream’s browser. My dream of course is that one of these platforms will be progressive enough to realize that adult entertainment is a legitimate entertainment option for every adult, like football, slasher films, and Grand Theft Auto. And like all of the above, allow us to promote our content within the Daydream platform.”

Daydream District: “When was the first time that you tried porn in VR and what were your thoughts? In your opinion, what makes porn in VR special? In your opinion, is it the killer app of VR?”

Todd Glider: “I experienced VR porn for the first time on the same day I experienced VR for the first time. A local producer had created a test scene, in conjunction with a new company in the city that was working in VR/AR. It blew me away, even as someone who’s been working in the online adult space since the 1990s. Porn is the killer VR app. We are the torchbearers for this revolution right now. I joked in Rolling Stone magazine a couple of months back that Palmer Luckey ought to pay as a referral fee for every sale of Oculus Rift. We’re driving everything right now, and that’s not hubris. Gaming will eventually overtake us, but right now, the fact is that the best VR game in the world doesn’t hold a candle to games like Call of Duty. Not so, with porn. If you ‘split test’ a VR porn scene against a non-VR porn scene, the difference is so stark, there’s no debate. So VR porn really exploits the potential of the tech in a way no other industry can. And doubtless, there are numerous startups across many, many industries doing amazing things with VR already. Awe-inspiring and innovative, they provide jaw-dropping signals of what’s on the horizon. But none of them have a business model yet. We do. We’re not creating demos. Every one of our productions is a complete program—with a beginning, middle and end. And because we have a business model, we our able to constantly evolve our tech, and improve content production. We’ve produced well over 80 complete VR scenes since July 2015. My content manager, Dinorah, who directs all productions, therefore has more experience creating VR content than just about any person on the planet.”

Daydream District: “How long have you personally been working in the adult entertainment industry? How does one become the CEO of a VR porn company? Would be great if you could tell us a bit about your career in the industry.”

Todd Glider: “Well, we have a VR porn product in BaDoinkVR, and will be launching a new VR product this quarter as well. But I’m the CEO of CM Productions, LLC. The company started in 2002. We’re not a VR porn company, per se. I would say BaDoinkVR is our most exciting product, but it’s by no means our biggest product. We have mainstream products, and other adult-oriented products as well. As far as becoming CEO, it’s not so different from becoming CEO of any online company. We’re a tech company first, a porn company second, and we’d prefer to think of ourselves as a digital entertainment company ultimately. We’ve a staff of nearly 100 people between our office in Barcelona, Spain and Rochester, New York, and more than 50% of those people are developers. The group responsible for the part that is strictly pornographic: maybe 10%. It reflects how the industry has evolved over the last 20 years. The days when porn studios could exist, and focus most of their resources on producing and releasing new titles every week or month are long gone, and the studios that thought they could survive with that kind of structure had to adapt or die. A lot of them died.”

Daydream District: “Thank you very much for this highly interesting interview!”

And thank you to have made it to the very end. Stay tuned for more articles from this series! Want to be informed if a new article is up? Simply click here to opt-in to our newsletter!

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