2017 review by SLR marketing team
2017 was a phenomenal year for both virtual reality and VR porn. It turned from an interesting gimmick into something truly innovative and wildly successful. Let us explain why, using facts about the industry and statistical data from the database of SexLikeReal, the world’s leading resource for VR porn.
To date, almost 5,000 VR porn videos have been produced, and new studios are joining the market all the time. If you wanted every single VR porn video, at the highest quality, you would require 21TB of hard drive space. The average filesize has grown significantly, going from 3GB in 2016 to 8GB in 2017. It also takes 2,045 hours - or over 85 days - to go through every video.
Of course, this means it has been a financial success as well, with sales of over $18m, making VR porn easily one of the most profitable sectors of virtual reality. Interestingly, 1.2% of these sales were made via another technological innovation: Bitcoin. The use of cryptocurrency as a payment method was adopted by many of the top VR porn studios at the very beginning.
This rapid progress over the past few years means the VR porn community has very high expectations, and it’s widely recognised that the best VR porn movies are yet to come. Surprisingly, most of the big adult brands have not released VR content yet, nor made any announcements about it.
A major factor behind the success of VR porn was the release of the SexLikeReal app, which made it much easier for the average user to access and experience VR porn videos. The app serves as a streaming service, with a huge library of over 4,000 VR porn videos available with a single click. Previously, the only option was to download large files from many different places, each around 5-10GB in size, and struggle with various video players to try and get it working. SLR streamlined the entire process, meaning the typical VR porn viewer no longer has to manage a huge library on their smartphone or desktop PC, or do complicated setups to make VR videos display properly.
By the end of 2017 the SLR app had over 10,000 daily visitors, across all formats. Here’s a breakdown of which platforms are used most:
Oculus Rift 48.93%
HTС Vive 19.86%
Google Cardboard 13.71%
Windows Mixed Reality 1.36%
(The iPhone and PSVR are closed systems, meaning the app cannot be used on those formats. Those users don’t have as many options when it comes to VR, although low-quality streams can be accessed via WebVR on iPhones.)
The past year also saw a significant increase in quality of VR porn videos, with 180º stereoscopic videos in 4K resolution at 60 FPS becoming standard. 5K videos became available in October for advanced PC set-ups that employ h.265 decoding, and also European Galaxy S8 and S7 phones, thanks to the Exynos chipset used for GearVR and DayDream. Five studios currently offer 5K quality videos, with numerous other studios expected to follow in the coming weeks.
When it comes to filming VR porn, each studio uses a customised rig as there isn’t a proper retail VR camera available. This means each studio varies in their output. One key difference is 180º and 360º stereoscopic videos. 180º videos accurately replicate human sight, with left and right camera placed near the actor’s head, to record things from his or her point of view, and providing a stream for each eye. Your brain processes this as your natural vision, with no significant post production required. However, 360º stereoscopic videos require advanced stitching algorithms, to piece the footage together from a number of cameras. The current state of technology means the video output often has significant artifacts that break the immersion, making it impractical for shooting objects closer than 1.5-2m away. Top corporate companies invested hundreds of millions of dollars into 360º videos, but ultimately it didn’t get much traction. Meanwhile, a few dozen VR enthusiasts embraced community-driven technology and employed DIY camera rigs to produce the kind of 180º stereo footage that currently dominates the VR market.
Stereo vision is a key component for the optimal VR experience. The major studios stopped producing mono videos in 2017, although some videos with incorrect stereoscopic setups are set to mono by default. The SLR app has default presets created by professional editors with proper stereoscopic adjustments to fix those videos. Otherwise users have a function to make those adjustments manually. The next step is to remaster the whole library with advanced setups using specialized software packages developed for Hollywood studios. It has already proved to have significant effect, taking many videos with wrong setups and displaying them in far superior quality.
Conventional scenes don’t have much action behind you, so the makers of 360º videos tend to take a more interesting and conceptual approach compared to the traditional 180º scenes. There is expected to be an increase in 360º videos over the coming months due to a number of professional quality 360º cameras hitting the market. By the end of 2017, VRBangers had released number of successful 360º videos and are planning to release many more. The most exciting concepts for filming porn in 360º are yet to be discovered.
In 2017, the VR porn market became highly competitive when it comes to talent and traffic. You’ll notice that studios tend to focus on specific niches, with some focusing on lengthy hour-long storylines, while others feature solely American (or European) talent, whereas some studios spotlight particular fetishes, or promote their technological superiority.
Most days see around ten new videos released on the SLR app, usually featuring POV hardcore action. In May 2017, the StasyQ studio released the first erotic softcore scene. Those videos quickly became bestsellers. 360º is the next step for them as a studio.
Cosplay became another important part of the VR porn landscape over the past year. VRCosplayX launched in late 2016 and became wildly popular thanks to their well-scripted storylines and beautifully-made costumes. This studio raised the bar when it came to the budget of VR porn scenes, with some reaching approximately $5,000 per scene or more.
We also saw a huge demand for quality Asian content, especially JAV (Japanese Adult Video) movies. There are a vast number of VR videos produced in Japan, but it can be difficult getting them licensed for the Western market. Plus, local law means all the videos are censored, with genitals being pixelated; and it’s not possible to get uncensored versions of the videos for the Western market. Censoring 60 FPS stereo video is an extremely time consuming procedure, requiring an entire post-production team to work all day long on a single 20 minute video.
Female POV videos, which portray intercourse from the girl’s perspective, were a big hit during the past year, with 154 videos released. This type of content is expected to be produced on a slow, but regular basis.
Some gay and shemale content was released in early days of VR porn but it took until the second half of 2017 for it to receive a steady release schedule. In particular, shemale content struck a chord with viewers - interestingly the viewership is the same as the people who watch straight VR porn. On the other hand gay VR porn videos did not prove as popular and there is fairly little demand for such content.
The more established VR porn companies are constantly improving their product and pursuing technological advances. The newer studios typically have problems when it comes to issues such as scaling, stereoscopic and camera alignments. But while it took the pioneering studios years to figure out, this can often be fixed in a matter of months.
Since the dawn of VR porn, and the VR market in general, the USA was the main target market. At the moment, it’s responsible for 40% of visitors to the SLR site and app, and 60% of the transactions. As you’d expect, other technologically advanced countries provide the most VR users. Surprisingly, London made it to the top according to the city in which the SLR is most popular, and Melbourne and Sydney also made it to the top, despite the well-known poor broadband speeds in Australia. Most VR scenes are produced in a handful of cities: Los Angeles, Barcelona, Brno and Prague.
The big tube sites created a lot of online buzz when they emerged, due to their free porn offerings. Nowadays VR is a challenge for them, so in turn they are challenging VR. Initially they contained a lot of pirated content and third party adverts, meaning that not only do porn producers not make money from their work but it establishes a mindset in the consumer that porn is free and shouldn’t be paid for. Obviously this does not suit VR porn, as it heavily depends on a revenue stream to keep the technology progressing and advancing. Thankfully, recent years have seen a devoted and passionate community built up around VR porn, helping the industry achieve its current healthy position.
But the tube sites have now added VR sections which receive significant amounts of traffic, and even reach the top results on search engines for VR related queries. This means many viewers are experiencing VR porn for the first time via these tube sites and their intrusive adverts, encountering low quality VR files that ruin the whole experience. In many cases, the videos will not play properly, leading to distorted images and low resolution footage.
This is why the SLR app is so important. VR porn videos are available with a single click, and each video is configured to provide the proper resolution, bitrate, encoding and FPS rate. Each file employs 30 different encodings, until it finds the best match. Beyond this, many VR porn videos are significantly better within the app as the playback software provides professional alignments and corrections. The appuses customized meshes for specific studios to provide the best depictions of their videos in VR. Stand-alone VR video players do not offer this function. SLR significantly enhances videos in other ways, such as fixing stereoscopic alignment and properties. It’s a fact that videos played through the SLR app look better than through any other VR video player.
Other features include tilt and height options that allows viewers to align their body position to match actor’s POV. A zoom option brings the action much closer and head tracking has been enabled to improve upon this. Using the SLR app brings a whole new level of interactivity that did not exist previously.
In the near future the team behind SLR plans to make mining an optional tool for users of the app. Once enabled, users will be able to join the SLR mining pool which can be expected to mine $2-$4 overnight. This will allow users to purchase videos without using their credit cards.
In time, we can expect VR porn to become a mass market commodity with no price barrier. This will make it much easier for customers to make a decision in favor of purchasing and so lowering the risk of piracy. Currently, the average price is around $3.99 per video, and prices range from $0.99 to $11.99.
Looking to the future, industry insiders are especially excited about lightfield technology, which offers up six degrees of freedom (6DoF). This will allow the consumer to move around the scene and enjoy the action from any perspective. (The tricky part is that such a video might be at 226GB for 5min at 6.3Gb/s!)
Despite its success so far, the VR porn industry continues to have enormous potential. And the main reason is the quality of the product, which will only continue to improve along with advances in technology. A quick search online will provide countless praise, with many people saying they’ll never go back to 2D porn after trying it. SLR are at the forefront of this exciting new world of adult entertainment, providing a friction-free app that makes it incredibly easy to experience VR porn at its best.
Here are some comments from users on Reddit about the SLR app:
“I was put off VR porn when all I could find at first was a poor selection on porn sites streamed in sh*tty quality. Discovered the SLR app last month and my mind was blown. First time I’ve ever paid for porn, and it’s been worth every penny many times over. If more people tried it VR would really take off. Not gonna see them demoing that in Best Buy stores any time soon though. XD” - 3ntr0pyZer0 [Reddit]
“SLR's new player is the best I've seen (on mobile) out of at least a dozen. Far better than what most studios out on their web sites or suggest from the play store.” - JitWeasel [Reddit]
“For someone who hasn't looked at VR porn in about a year... it sure has come a long way! Before it was a huge hassle for some low res badly shot films.. starting to get pretty impressive now.” - WarChilld [Reddit]
“I'm a big fan of vr porn and have gone through pretty much all the possible platforms, SLR has been by far the highest quality, easiest to install and navigate, and has the widest catalogue. Oh and it's free, so why not?” - SexyGoatOnline [Reddit]