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Serious Hardware: Talking VR With PornHub

It’s been said that the adult film industry knows a thing or two about technology, especially when it comes to tech trends and innovation. The VHS, eCommerce, and even livestreaming wouldn’t be where they are today without them.

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Fun fact: virtual reality has been around for centuries. Crazy, right? The earliest attempts at VR can be dated back to 1838, with the discovery that the brain can view two side-by-side stereoscopic images through a stereoscope, giving the sense and feeling of depth in immersion. This would later become the design principle for the low budget and consumer friendly Google Cardboard in 2014. From there, research and advancements to understand and create VR have made leaps and bounds, all the way to 1960 when the first VR head mounted display was mounted.

Virtual reality has come a long way, with new trail blazers come to push the absolute limit of technology to improve and create an overall better product for us all. If you’d like to know more about the history of early VR I recommend checking this out.

Fast forward to 2016, what does this mean for specific industries? We had a chance to talk to Corey Price, VP of PornHub to see how and why PornHub has adopted modern day VR and what it means for all of us.


Steve: What did it take to be the first free porn site to launch VR/360-degree porn? What sort of investments and partnerships helped make this happen?

Corey: When we set out to be the first porn site to launch VR/360-degree porn, we made it a priority to find a partner with the very best VR content available. We wanted to ensure the success of our launch and knew the content would be especially integral to our overall reception. Along the way we made a number of strategic investments and partnerships as well. It was a process but the final product came out great.

 

S: Specifically, how did your partnership with BaDoink VR come about?

C: We were looking for potential partners and BaDoinkVR had everything we wanted – great content, reputability, etc. They also provided technical help with their Oculus player and iOS VR player. You can say it was a match made in Heaven.

 

S: Does filming VR require specialized cameras or editing systems? If so, which ones do you use?

C: Yes, VR camera rigs are specialized and costly. Our production partner making custom VR scenes for us (Pornhub Originals), VRhush, uses a unique setup with multiple DSLR cameras.

 

S: How well-received has VR porn been with your users?

C: Our users love the new VR category. As of right now, our VR videos have over 35 million views. We project that number to increase daily.

 

S: What sort of hardware does someone need to enjoy VR porn?

C: All they need is a relatively inexpensive Google Cardboard viewer (you can find one for $10 or so online) and a smart phone to enjoy the immersive VR experience. If someone wants to take it to the next level with better quality, they can splurge on more immersive headsets like an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.

 

S: Is the door going to open up to room-scale VR, like with the HTC Vive?

C: It’s too soon to tell right now but we do believe it will be.

 

S: Does PornHub have their own VR headset? Do you endorse a specific headset?

C: We gave away 10,000 Google Cardboard viewers when we launched our VR category. We do not have a specific headset but we may include one in the future with our Premium memberships. Stay tuned.

 


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S: What sort of research went into countering VR sickness?

C: Countering VR sickness has been a burgeoning interest across the industry. Thankfully most of our scenes don’t cause much motion sickness. There’s not a lot of crazy action going on aside from the actors and actresses engaging in sex. Nonetheless however, we are looking into ways to combat the disorientation some users experience while viewing VR. It remains a top priority.

 

S: How have you worked with other companies in the VR space to push the technology forward?

C: In addition to our content partnership with BadoinkVR, we work with VRhush, who is our production partner. They are truly pushing the boundaries with amazing 360-degree stereoscopic content. They make the great VR exclusive scenes we show on Pornhub, as well as upsell on Pornhub Premium. We are also in the process of adding VR content from several additional content partners including WankzVR, HoloGirlsVR and KinkVR in the coming weeks.

 

S: Have there been innovations you’ve made that have made it out into the larger world of VR?

C: We made VR porn accessible to everyone, free of charge. That caused reverberations across not just the adult entertainment industry, but the outstanding technology, pop culture and men’s and women’s interest industries as well. With a cardboard viewer and a smartphone, users are able to access our content and immerse themselves within the 360-degree content. It’s worth a try if you haven’t already.

 

S: Have there been innovations in the larger world of VR that have affected the experiences you’ve been creating?

C: It’s still new on the content creation side but certainly the availability of VR rigs and cameras has been more and more appealing. We are almost at a time that we can give affordable VR cameras to our thousands of amateur models to create great VR content at home, upload it to Pornhub and monetize their videos in our amateur program.

 

S: It’s often said that porn can determine the success or failure of consumer technology. Do you think this will be true of VR?

C: Absolutely. The adult entertainment industry is often an early adopter of innovative, cutting edge technologies and VR is no different. I think porn will help pave the way to make VR mainstream. It creates a huge value-add to people. So hop aboard and enjoy what VR has to offer.

 

Steve Noel is a Senior Editor for AYBOnline.com, Team Lead for Streaming & Video Content and Host/Producer of the Level One Scrubs Talkshow. When he’s not working behind the desk, you’ll find him spending time with his cat, Jeff Bridges.

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