Virtually everyone who has experienced the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will tell you that its immersive qualities is a revelation, the bold step forward for gaming and technology as a whole that many of us have long dreamt off.
Unfortunately, a good deal of those people will also tell you that they were not able to handle the future for very long, due to getting dizzy and the fear of becoming sick.
Is it motion sickness? Not exactly, though it’s certainly related; the actual term is simulation sickness. And it’s something that the folks at Oculus VR are trying to tackles.
For starters, here we have Oculus VR’s Nate Mitchell explaining the difference at GDC Europe. According to Polygon, Mitchell states:
“In motion sickness there’s all this motion but you don’t visually perceive the walls and ceilings are moving. This is what creates the conflict that makes you dizzy. With simulator sickness it’s basically the inverse. These are all the things you want to avoid as game developers.”
No one in the medical community really understands what causes either motion or simulation sickness, so there are no widely accepted solutions. Basically, more research needs to be done. Which is exactly what they’re essentially doing with their headset.
Mitchell also suggests possible solutions to help alleviate the issue, like head bobbing, even though he doesn’t really feel it’s the answer. But more research needs to be done to make a final call. He also believes simulator sickness will eventually go away.
And while it is hard to find such evidence, it has been said that in the early days of cinema, movie goers experienced sensations similar to motion sickness, but it eventually went away as people got used to the medium. Maybe the same will apply here?