Cybersickness Diminishes the User's Experience With Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) has become one of the most sought after mediums for digital experience.  Whether one is an avid gamer or someone who rarely looks at a television screen, virtual reality brings an entirely new perspective to the digital world.  However, VR immersion can yield negative side effects.  These side effects are summarized as cybersickness.  This type of motion sickness is characterized by symptoms, such as sweating, drowsiness, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting, has the ability to compromise the sense of presence and the whole VR experience.  When creating a virtual reality experience for users there is one single goal that the developers try to meet.  The closer the system is to human perception the higher the immersive potential.  Developers will strive to make VR as life like as possible in since part of evaluating a VR program revolves around its immersion experience.  This naturally leaves users more susceptible to cybersickness thus dulling their entire virtual reality experience.

Gamers on the Forefront of Virtual Reality Usage Experience Minimal Cybersickness

Oculus Rift is currently the leader of developing virtual reality headsets for gamers.  Their goal is to provide the ultimate immersion experience for their consumers.  For most people these operating systems will be too lifelike for the average person to use without experiencing any form of cybersickness.  However, avid gamers do not experience cybersickness as intensely as most people.  Based on this study people who were not avid gamers experienced high levels of cybersickness while people who played games regularly were not as susceptible to the symptoms.

Cybersickness will also lead to companies such as Oculus Rift experiencing a reduction in sales since many users will have experience negative systems when operating a VR headset.  In order to combat this these companies should invest in more methods to reduce cybersickness at the same time of improving the quality of their VR experience that they provide.  Since experiencing cybersickness diminishes one’s ability to immerse themselves in VR developing methods to reduce these side effects is the optimal way to improve immersion.

Age Has No Correlation with Cybersickness

During the study, same as above, the experiment tried to seek correlation between one’s age and their levels of immersion and susceptibility to cyber sickness.  Initial hypothesis would be the younger someone is the less likely they will experience severe cybersickness.  However, the results of the study show that there is no correlation between age and cybersickness.  The only results that can be extrapolated from the data is there is a relationship between levels of immersion and cybersickness.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to prove how they correlate since no individual responses were present in the study.

This independence of age and cybersickness is unfortunate for the Virtual Reality movement.  Recent polls have shown that Generation Z and Millennials are most excited about Virtual Reality while Baby Boomers do not really care about this new technology.  If the hypothesis was proven true that would be good news for Virtual Reality since most of their clientele will be in the younger generations. 

Virtual Reality Technology is Improving Rapidly and Moving Beyond Just Gaming

This year Virtual Reality developers have focused on improving gaming.  However, VR is a flexible platform that can be used for so much more than just gaming.  Different people can use virtual reality to solve problems such as understanding natural disasters.  For example, developers have created a VR experience that simulates earthquakes.  This allowed scientists and governments to understand the whole picture because they have personally experienced it through virtual reality.  This new exposure provides new context for issues that otherwise seemed impossible to replicate.

Virtual Reality has unlimited applications that are useful for the real world. It can be used to simulate war strategies, business models, construction and many more. Like the internet, it also has the potential to fulfill certain desires that may not necessarily be acceptable to societies social norms such as Grand Theft Auto.

With New and Improved Virtual Reality Technology Finding a Way to Combat Cybersickness is Crucial for Positive Reception

A concern with virtual reality is the cause of cybersickness amongst the majority of users. Virtual Reality has the capacity of introducing a new means of experience. This experience can be entertaining and educational but also disorienting. The disorienting feeling tied to Virtual Reality diminishes the experience since full immersion is not possible if one is feeling the effects of cybersickness.

Virtual Reality is on the forefront of gaming. Nearly every technology company is working on developing some sort of virtually reality game. Due to name brand recognition, regardless of unobserved variables there will be consumers buying these products. Should the product have major flaws, such as the ability to make the consumer ill as a byproduct of its use, it will not be received well and will get major critical feedback that can harm sales and company reputation. To both satisfy a customer’s wants and needs while taking into consideration safety hazards, the introduction of such a product should be done after accounting for such hazards. This is a responsibility that lies on the developers of Virtual Reality, and with this comes the additional responsibility of furthering the research on the prevention of cybersickness. 

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