As virtual reality headset becomes more and more immersive and the games and experiences look more life-like, one has to question whether VR could traumatize certain users? While I don’t think that I personally could be traumatized by virtual reality, I do not doubt that this could be a concern to many users, especially the younger and older crowds perhaps. Yesterday Jason Kingsley, CEO of British video game developer Rebellion,called CNBC and discussed this very topic with them.
“The trouble is that means it’s more intense. You’re surrounded by it and immersed in it,” explained Kingsley. “Suddenly it becomes more real rather than abstracted. Will a horror game give you the same physiological reactions as being in a horrific situation for real? Horror movies can be very scary or very cathartic or very terrifying, but horror VR will take it beyond that and do we want to be entertained like that?”
Kingsley also went on to discuss the possibilities of turning the company’s ‘Sniper Elite’ series into a VR-compatible experience:
“We have to consider that fairly thoroughly before we start on that road because you’re playing a war game and you’re killing artificial people. Where does one draw the line? Will you trigger PTSD in some proportion of your players? I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to traumatize my players and PTSD is a very, very serious issue for our modern soldiers.”
In my opinion he brings up very solid points. If some of the toughest soldiers can be traumatized in battle, what is to say that your 14-year-old nephew will be able to handle a very real simulation of battle in 360-degree VR? At some point the human brain could be traumatized to an extent which makes it difficult for the user to quickly recover once the headset is taken off. What do you guys think? Is this a worry we should have as VR gaming becomes more immersive and heads to the mainstream?