Looking for your next adventure in virtual reality adult gaming?
Two years in the design and just 48 hours into the launch of its crowdfunding campaign to get the product to launch, Virtual Mate broke all records on the IndieGoGo platform for an adult tech company. Achieving 75% of its funding within the first two days, this VR sex toy and adult gaming device has been making the headlines across the industry. Ostensibly a male stroker that ‘pairs’ with a VR game, Virtual Mate looks stylish but could the hype end up being marketing puff or is this really a world-leading step closer to realistic cybersex?
In this feature we take a closer look at this record-breaking adult-tech project and find out whether this is just another VR sex toy or something we should all be getting excited about.
What is Virtual Mate?
A new concept in VR technology, the Virtual Mate purports to offer the ‘world’s most realistically intimate virtual experience…ever’.
Currently being crowdfunded through IndieGoGo, it’s technically an adult VR game complete with a male sex toy device. Synchronized using revolutionary technology, they link up the latest in teledildonics with incredible 3D (or 2D) graphics to deliver an immersive, virtual girlfriend experience.
Quite simply, the Virtual Mate is a VR sex toy that claims to be able to offer seamless interactivity with an array of virtual women using some of the finest and highest definition 3D imaging.
The project has come together over the last two years and, with the help of future customers pledging on IndieGoGo, it should be ready to launch at the beginning of 2020.
What’s Special About Virtual Mate?
Okay, so this isn’t a new concept and masturbation toys that link to VR graphics are already available with devices like those by Kiiroo, Fleshlight and Lovense. In fact, the technology behind cyberdildonics has just been getting better and better. Bluetooth connections that communicate tactile sensations can offer surprisingly good results and VR porn production companies have been pairing this technology with POV footage for a few years.
Even in the virtual gaming world, titles like Chathouse 3D have been incorporating the technology to improve user experience.
So, what makes Virtual Mate so special?
Glad you asked. Well, the major difference between all of these examples and Virtual Mate is that THIS product is the world’s first human-computer interaction interface. What that means is that your virtual partner can respond to the real-time sensors equipped in the external ‘Core’ device.
With multiple intelligent sensors collecting motion data from you and your actions, the on-screen (or VR headset) avatar can respond in return to the depth, speed and strength signals you are sending. All in all, the result should deliver a far more powerfully immersive experience.
Certainly anyone who has tried out cybersex with a game will attest that the on-screen responses can often be repetitive and ‘robotic’ yet Virtual Mate is assuring us that their software is different.
As for what it looks like, the only information to go on at this stage is the marketing material that has been reportedly taken from real life game footage. What this shows is amazingly high-quality content that looks incredibly realistic. From the lighting, skin tones and ‘jiggle’ of flesh to facial expressions, fluidity of motion and rendering, the visuals of the software element to Virtual Mate look staggeringly realistic.
The first virtual girlfriend to be produced is Shelia and her body, face, movements and voice have all been painstakingly put together using facial rigging facial/body capture and real-time rendering technology. The results have to be seen to be believed but the initial feedback promises that this is no ordinary VR experience.
‘She knows how you move… and she likes it’
Secondly, Sheila is not the only girlfriend that you can get intimate with using the technology. The company wants to create a whole stable of virtual mates that they can offer to their customers. Whilst the initial development of these offerings will be open for public vote (it’s good publicity), there is the possibility that anyone can become a virtual mate. Yes, as long as you have the permission for copyright, you could request a virtual replica of your own girlfriend or even a celebrity…..if they agree.
In September, the company launched its first contest in which it offered backers the chance to vote for their favorite porn star as a potential candidate for the next virtual mate. From a choice of Cherie DeVille, Jessica Sage, Cindy Starfall, Maddy O’Reilly, Lexi Luna, Jaclyn Taylor, Tana Lea or Tiffany Watson most guys wouldn’t be disappointed by whoever wins this one.
The possibilities are almost endless and are also not restricted to women either.
Which is another reason why Virtual Mate is getting so much attention. Whilst the initial product design has been engineered for male customers, they are already working on a device that can satisfy their female clients. There’s no firm news about when this will be completed but this will really give them an edge over the competition.
Lastly, Virtual Mate is not intended to be a ‘passive’ device that you sit back and watch porn with. It’s a game and there is plenty of development going into the creation of a virtual environment that will make you want to keep coming back to spend time with your ‘mate’ for more than just the sex.
The game developers are promising a plot-rich world whose characters come with captivating back-stories and more realistic interactions. So, instead of a pre-recorded response, the lovers you will encounter in this game should be able to make it feel like you are forming deeper connections for more rewarding encounters.
What Do You Get?
When you purchase a Virtual Mate you will receive the ‘Core’; the external hardware (or male masturbation sleeve) that has been elegantly and intelligently designed using world-leading technology.
It looks a lot like a smart speaker and could easily pass for a Google Assistant but is just the result of two years of clever design.
It features a smart warming system, high sensitivity sensors and a Bluetooth module all encased in a sleek geometric piece of artwork.
Internally, the sleeve is made from food-grade silicone and along with the warming mechanism ensures the most comfortable experience.
Along with the hardware, customers will also get access to the software via a download.
It’s not clear whether any additional ‘mates’ will come at an extra cost as their designs are completed but any custom mods would certainly incur additional charges.
The Virtual Mate will initially be compatible with both PC and Mac as well as with mobile devices.
Customers who want to experience the game in VR mode will be able to do so using either HTC Vive and Occulus. They are trying to develop a connection with PlayStation but have yet to confirm whether this will be in place prior to the launch.
For smartphone VR users who the screen as a display, the usual array of headsets will work with Virtual Mate including Gear VR, Google Cardboard etc.
As for what kind of system spec you will need to run the software, no firm details have been published yet but the general guidance is that if you can play Fortnite or World of Warcraft on your computer then you can certainly launch Virtual Mate without any difficulties.
How Much Does Virtual Mate Cost?
The first 500 units of Virtual Mate were sold for a price of $145 but an additional 300 units have been offered for a sale price of $199. This special ‘early-bird’ promotion was part of the crowdfunding project to boost capital to enable the project to meet its launch timescales.
At the time of writing, the campaign has exceeded its initial target of $25,000 by 474%. However, this reduced price will still be available until the end of the campaign period which is set to expire on 31st October 2019.
After this date, the price of the Virtual Mate will be raised to $299 for all pre-orders. However, once the system is in production, the price will resort to an RRP of $399.
When Will Virtual Mate Be Available?
Pre-orders have been taken for the Virtual Mate since the crowdfunding campaign started in September 2019 but delivery won’t be made on the product until 2020.
At the crowdfunding stage, formal orders are being made with their manufacturing partners with raw material sourcing, mold preparation and first trial production all occurring over November and December 2019. At the same time, final changes will be made to the software development based on functionality testing.
All backers who have pre-ordered their Virtual Mate can expect first delivery before the end of February 2020. However, the software may well be available to download before the hardware arrives.
Virtual Mate: We Say…
We can’t deny that we are a little bit excited by the prospect of the Virtual Mate Intimacy System. On paper, and in the marketing footage taken from the game itself, it looks like something out of a Hollywood sci-fi movie and promises to be an exceptional experience.
Obviously there are still a few months to go until we can get our hands on one to really be sure about it but there is enough promise to make this an early Christmas gift for yourself (albeit delivered a little later).
With the prospect of custom made avatars to add into the game and even immortalizing yourself and/or your real life partner, Virtual Mate may just be to the adult gaming community what Second Life was to the virtual word of gaming a decade or so ago.
Only time will tell if the product is as good as it is purported to be but we are definitely sold on the idea at the current prices.
As for whether the $400 asking price for the system post-launch is worth it….consider this. A top of the range VR stroker like the Fleshlight Launch will easily set you back around $300 but the device does work with a wide range of inputs including popular porn channels and games. However, it wont work with Virtual Mates. Virtual Mates on the other hand is promising that their Core device can work with other interactive content.
So, for $400, you get what promises to be an advanced sex toy that you can use with other services plus be one of the first to experience Virtual Mate.
All in all, we can’t wait for the release of this system and hope that development on the next choices of mates isn’t too long in delivery. Watch this space…
All featured images via Virtual Mate.