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Creators of the VR porn controller explain why they suspended Indiegogo orders

There is a typical pattern of responses when you tell someone that virtual reality porn is a thing now: uncomfortable giggling, followed by speculation about what sorts of physical peripherals would help make the experience even more immersive, which then in turn lapses into even more giggling. Perhaps inevitably, someone with engineering chops has followed through on this pervy dream, and now you can go to Indiegogo and order your own VirtuaDolls, “an adult game controller where touch and feedback are taken to the next level.” Or you could, until the campaign was frozen.

VirtuaDolls has informed Digital Trends that the campaign has been temporarily suspended due to overwhelming demand. Massive interest in the controller apparently outstripped their planned production capacity, and so the designers opted to pause and rejigger the campaign to better suit their newfound demand.

“Demand went through the roof.”

When we last checked the campaign, it had raised $7,231 of its $20,000 goal with 35 days to go before concluding. About $200 plus shipping would net you the controller with a plain sleeve and the Girls of Arcadia game included. Additional sleeves or the vacuum kit could be added on for $50 each. With a functioning prototype already in hand, they had planned on shipping the first units in May.

Creator Eos Creative Group’s Bill Spracklin told us that “demand went through the roof,” shortly after the campaign’s launch. Eos’ staff of three was not prepared to meet that demand within the promised time frame, and Spracklin felt that it was “the responsible thing” to pause and reassess now, rather than “figuring it out later.”

“We reached an average of eight sold an hour before putting the campaign on hold,” Spracklin told us. “I don’t have the exact numbers on hand, but I believe we received 30 percent of our funding goal in a 24 hour window. Sales numbers were increasing at an alarming rate and we were tracking to sell over 5,000 units, which would have put the campaign at well over $1 million. We had not anticipated that kind of demand and decided to put the campaign on hold before the numbers went insane.”

The second reason for putting the campaign on hold was “that some of the electrical components we use are very new to the market, and are quite expensive.” Unsure of whether they could procure enough for production, they have taken this opportunity to tweak the design, swapping out some of the electronics “as well as improving the overall aesthetic and ergonomics.” A benefit of this is that it will drive the price down by 25 percent to around $150.

The VirtuaDoll consists of a silicone sheath into which a man inserts his joystick, similar to a Fleshlight. Interchangeable sheaths with different textures allow for varying sensations. A pressure sensor determines the occupant’s position within the sheath. In concert with a mechanized gripper for “intelligent stroke movement,” this allows for the VirtuaDolls controller to sync up the sensation to the action. An optional vacuum attachment “adds suction capabilities and an easy-clean system.”

Sex toy maker Kirroo introduced a comparable system last year with its Onyx “hands-free male masturbator,” which can be synced to both VR porn movies or remotely to an analogous Pearl dildo (pitched as a sexual solution for long-distance relationships). VirtuaDolls goes further with the addition of sensors and control elements, allowing for interactivity instead of just a passive experience.

Related: I tried VR porn in a CES hotel suite, and I’ll never be the same

The VirtuaDolls can also sync up with VR porn videos for a passive experience, but has handles with joysticks on either side for pornographic games. The controller will come bundled with a VR porn game of their own design called Girls of Arcadia. Featured in the pitch video, Girls of Arcadia is a sexy fantasy adventure that apparently involves slaying monsters to rescue captive goddesses who are very grateful. It looks like what those browser games with provocative, clickbaity banner ads like Evony promise to be.

At launch, the VirtuaDolls controller will be compatible with the PC Oculus Rift, and the Unreal Engine — a VR headset is ideal, but not actually necessary to use it. Compatibility with OSX, the HTC Vive headset, and the Unity3D engine are planned for after launch. There are stretch goals in place for additional compatibility with Android, iOS, and the Google Cardboard platform, as well. An FAQ also reveals that if this campaign is successful they will develop the inverse, “female version of the product.”

Eos plans to relaunch the campaign on Tuesday, February 9.