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5 Questions for the Porn Queen of VR

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The second installment of one of Europe’s leading tech-based events – VR Days took place in the Netherlands this past weekend. The first day kicked off with a large amount of talks from a plethora of leading innovators of immersive technology, all gathered at the beautiful Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam.

We, the audience had spent the last 7 hours listening intently to a vast array of speakers on interesting subjects ranging from cinematic VR, VR for high-end construction, and even how VR can be utilized to make depressed people show significant improvements towards a happier life.

One of the final and more controversial speakers of the day was Ela Darling – serial entrepreneur, virtual porn star and president of The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. Her talk: “Will VR Porn Make Adult Entertainment More Human and More Humane?” was a genuine breath of fresh air, and we managed to get her on a quick 1:1 after the event.

 

ela Ela Darling
VRTube.xxx

VR Today Magazine: Ela – You’re doing something pretty interesting in terms of bringing human contact into your industry. What, in your opinion is the greatest opportunity in facilitating real-time human connection through VR?

Ela: “I think the greatest opportunity here is improving people’s lives. We can use this medium to reduce loneliness and build personal, intimate connections across space in this fantastic medium. One of the things we realized after launching CAM4VR is that the sexual
aspect is really secondary to the therapeutic value people derive from the platform. There are people who lack access to personal relationships for a number of reasons. With this, they can feel a sense of reciprocal attraction, mutual self-disclosure, and shared vulnerability that they are unable to foster otherwise.”

VR Today Magazine: The pursuit of ending loneliness is definitely a worthy one! Where do you think the adult VR business is heading, and can you venture a guess of what it might look like in 5 years?

Ela“I think we’re going to see a lot more auxiliary devices like strokers and toys that react to the things you see in VR. As haptic technology develops, I think this field is going to explode and we will start seeing performers and big personalities in the adult industry releasing custom versions of devices for their fanbase, much like Fleshlight has done. I think we will see a democratization of VR porn the way we did when clips sites took of and anyone with a camera could become an amateur producer. That is something I’m particularly excited about and have big plans for.”

VR Today Magazine: That’s great! You recently gave a captivating talk in Amsterdam on human connection, adult content and VR. What was it like to attend one of the largest European conferences, and did you learn anything new there?

Ela: “VR Days was incredible and I had a lot of positive feedback. I even wound up on the Dutch evening news and in a big newspaper. I didn’t get a lot of time to check out the conference as I had to fly to Germany the next day for a TEDx talk, but the best part of conferences for me is always the people. The VR community is rich and diverse and wonderful. Getting to meet more of the European crowd was a delight. I am so honored that they invited me to speak and I can’t wait to be back in that beautiful city.”

VR Today Magazine: Amsterdam would be lucky to host you. Out of interest – what is the current stage of your VR-based adult marketplace?

Ela: “We’re pushing to launch fairly soon and selecting the first people to produce VR content to sell there. I’m a big advocate for performers (I’m the president of a non-profit organization called the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee) so creating now opportunities for performers to benefit is always very important to me. A marketplace like this using our cameras and production software we’ve developed might democratize VR porn, giving the performers greater access to production and distribution. I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas created by the incredible people who have made CAM4VR a success so far.”

VR Today Magazine: There’s undoubtedly a lot of competition in all aspects of Virtual Reality innovation. What in your view are the greatest challenges facing the adult VR industry at large?

Ela: “I think the big challenges are that hardware isn’t widely available that is optimized for this use case and it’s hard to find funding to create hardware that makes sense on the smaller end of large scale production. Additionally, the VR market is still small compared to the market at large, so reaching people with headsets and getting them to try your product is challenging. This is made even more difficult by the fact that the major VR marketplaces won’t allow adult producers to sell apps in their stores, so we rely on smaller distribution channels which can be off-putting to potential users.”

The Digital Love Industry

Ela’s work was showcased in Vice’s 32-minute feature episode: “The Digital Love Industry“. It has several interesting points on not only the adult industry, but virtual reality as well. Here it is for you. Enjoy!

Wrapup

That’s it for our interview with Ela Darling – the rising star of the digital adult industry. If you would like to learn more about her work, you can follow her on Twitter, Instagram as well as keep an eye out on her projects VR Tube and Cam4VR (NSFW). We wish Ela the best of luck in her many pursuits, and hope we’ll get to see her at future VR-based events.

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