Fair warning now: I’m probably going to wind up sounding like some sort of old scare-monger here, but these are the thoughts I had and felt this was an appropriate place to voice them. Also, let it be known beforehand that I’m not against VR gaming. I think it’s awesome technology, I’m interested in experiencing it once it’s more established, and I think the things that are able to be done with it outside of entertainment are absolutely phenomenal. So it is with that disclaimer out of the way that I say onward to sounding old!
Basically, I can’t help but be concerned about mental and physical health when it comes to VR experiences. A little while back, I was reading a write up for a VR horror game. Of course I can’t remember what it was called, but even if I could, that’s irrelevant. The point I want to make about the article is in regards to one specific statement in which the question was broached about the psychological limits on a game like this, and they admitted themselves that they were still learning how far they could push it. That’s scary to me. This is definitely new, uncharted territory; everyone is learning how best to utilize a VR experience, what’s right and what’s wrong. With new tech, it’s to be expected. This could easily come across as fear of new tech, which isn’t my point at all. My point is that these content creators must take several more steps than they are perhaps used to taking in terms of being conscientious.
To my understanding, which is limited to second-hand accounts, VR gaming is incredibly immersive. Which great! That’s the point! However, the more real things seem to people, the more chance there is for triggering content (I hate to even use that word because it has such a hyperbolic connotation now). Of course, everyone should understand to use at their own risk to some extent, but if this is the future of gaming? It falls to content creators to be very aware of what they are producing. I feel like many content creators like to push limits, to see just how far they can take something. That is, of course, their creative right, and such things have led to amazing games and tech in the past. However, matters of health become of great concern in this instance, I would think. Even beyond mental health concerns, my thought is with things like the horror genre, does the risk for cardiac problems not come into play? Especially when it comes to someone who may already be at risk for such issues?
I’m not a doctor nor a scientist, so my opinions on the issue ultimately matter very little. Also, I’m sure the people behind the curtain, so to speak, are aware of all potential issues anyway, because seriously, if I can think of it, I’m sure better minds can as well. I’m just saying these are my thoughts and concerns when going into such new territory as VR. Either way, I am excited to see the future of VR gaming and what it holds.