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Reasons why VR makes you sick.

VR Roller Coaster Application
VR Roller Coaster Application

Have you have ever experienced feeling sick while trying some new VR headset? Do you know someone who complains about feeling dizzy every time they put on some Virtual Reality headset? If your answer is yes, then this article is for you.

According to Wikipedia, Virtual Reality, or VR for short is “a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world”. The earliest versions of VR experiences, started in the 1940s. This is when View-Master made their first VR goggles. If you’re lucky enough, you might have played with some of them in your childhood.

View-Master - Probably, one of the earliest forms of virtual reality headsets.
View-Master – Probably, one of the earliest forms of virtual reality headsets.

Nobody was ever reported complaining about getting sick while playing with View-Master. However, with more advanced headsets, VR Sickness is a common concern.

In PhysUX Lab, we have done our homework and summarized it for you here. All the reasons why a VR experience can turn from entertainment to illness:

  1. Headset Refresh Rate / Processing Power

Almost no human ever have managed to survive a VR experience on a low-quality headset. Your eyes can be fine with some slower-than-usual refresh rates on your old TV. Can they survive trying out some VR on your old Android with Google Cardboard?

We always recommend a good headset like HTC Vive, powered by a high-end gaming PC. Or, in case that’s not out of your budget, then gear VR linked to a smartphone like Samsung Galaxy S10 for example, should do the job.

2. Bad Dynamics / Motion Sickness

If in reality, you’re sitting on your office chair, while in the virtual environment, you are actually diving in the ocean, this here my friend is the certain road to illness. Just don’t confuse your body. We do have some workarounds to these of course, like changing the players posture to match the game character’s view.

This here is the same reason why most people would feel dizzy, when trying to focus on reading a book in a moving vehicle. Because your eyes can see a stationary book, while your body feels the motion. Your mind and body just simply go on a continuous debate on whether your body is stationary or moving.

3. Roller Coaster

Just don’t play a roller coaster game and expect not to get sick!

“Just focus on the right hardware, right game dynamics and proper overall UX”

In PhysUX Lab, we often VR project requests that involve one or more of these problems. With the right hardware, game dynamics and overall player UX, we manage to provide enjoyable VR experiences that delivers the message with no user complaints.

Just don’t ask us to build you a VR roller-coaster game 🙂

PhysUX Lab

Building innovative user engagement experiences, since 2015.

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