Is virtual reality the future of pornography? Right now, that is the big question on the minds of producers, studios, and probably also more than a few consumers. To find an answer to this question, EAN turned to Gregory Dorcel, CEO of Marc Dorcel. The French porn studio is known to focus more on quality than quantity, and that is clearly reflected in their approach to VR. In our interview, the son of the eponymous company founder also addresses certain problems with the new technology that might prevent it from becoming mainstream in the near future.
Last year, VR hardware took a huge step forward and pornography producers were quick to follow: The amount of adult content for VR has increased quite a lot. What are your expectations for VR in 2017?
Gregory Dorcel: We hope that the supply of hi-quality content will increase. We also hope that the market will not just only cheap VR experiences without any added value, just in order to capitalise on a “promising market”.
So far, Dorcel has only produced one VR movie, and that was in 2015. Why did you put this type of content on hold – or was it even the last VR movie by Dorcel we will ever see?
When we launched our first VR movie, the goal was to create the best experience possible. We wanted to create a reference VR experience for audio-visual and we think this was a successful bet.
Furthermore, it was important for us to see how the market would evolve before producing new content. Also, our VR experiences are really sophisticated so we need at least three months of post-production to be ready.
How important was it for a company like Dorcel to get experience in the field of VR early on? What was the most important lesson you learned from you first VR projects?
Innovation is a part of our brand DNA. First CD-ROM, first multilingual DVD, first VOD platform… MARC DORCEL innovates and pips the industry greats by a whisker. Always abreast of new technologies, the company adds up achievements and know-how.
Everyone who experienced our VR movie tells that it is really impressive. We are now waiting to see how supply will develop so that demand can grow and a real market for VR can emerge.
Are consumers more willing to pay for VR content than for regular pornographic movies?
Yes. We created 2 different types of experiences, one free version (soft) and one paid version (hard). Based on these projects, 10% of free consumers have turned into paying customers which is clearly above average for regular movies.
600 Dollar for an Oculus Rift, 900 Dollar for a HTC VIVE: Getting started in the world of VR can be pricy. How much does the high-end hardware influence experience?
It is true that the hardware remains an obstacle but not because of its price – you can find cheap headsets. Hardware remains an obstacle in term of equipment complexity and because you can’t really live this experience with someone; the headset is only for one person.
How expensive is the creation of VR content when compared with normal movies?
The creation of VR content costs 3 to 4 times more than a normal movie. Moreover, it requires a significant investment of time in order to develop VR movies.
Is there a specific target audience for VR movies, or is it basically the same as with regular movies?
The audience is specific and goes through this specific content; it is linked to the low rate of equipment.
Apart from the technical challenges, which requirements do the performers have to fulfill when filming a VR movie?
Actors are not directed. They need to be able to really live this situation for 30 minutes without any information from the director.
Even though it is much more difficult to create VR content, how real is the threat that they will become commonplace in the near future, thus ruining the value?
We think that VR content will never become commonplace. We believe that VR will remain exceptional and limited to exceptional use. The main risk is to offer content that has nothing interesting to offer, making the customer feel like he was misled.
Right now, VR is still a niche product – and VR Porn a niche within the niche. When will VR become as commonplace as having a TV or a Smartphone?