Virtual Reality has its concerns; I was asked to write about some of the concerns and standardization regarding the state of virtual reality.
Is VR Safe for kids?
Over Thanksgiving, I discussed the idea of a Samsung Gear VR as a holiday gift with my uncle. He said that there were some scientific studies showing that kids are too young to use VR games.
I wanted to learn more. PlayStation made an announcement that their PlayStation VR is not suitable for kids under the age of 12. From what I found, it is not that VR is dangerous, but rather the distance between one’s eyes, otherwise known as interpupillary distance (IDP), is key for a smooth VR experience. Adults IDP ranges from 48mm and 73mm, based on race and gender. Kids IDP ranges between 40mm and 55mm. This smaller IDP is not supported by their headset, suggesting that kids would have headaches from blurry and distorted images. For example, the HTC Vive supports an IDP between 63mm and 73mm. This addresses concerns of the health and safety precautions involved in VR. With further concrete information made available to concerned consumers, VR will continue to have better adoption.
How do we know if VR will work?
Another concern about VR hardware: The accessibility and price of mobile VR equates to a lower barrier of entry. Should consumers find the mobile VR space valuable, but not satisfiable, they may opt for the higher-end PC route. Many companies are working together such as AMD and Oculus, using the term “VR Ready”. This term identifies a computer that can run VR games at 90fps per eye and meet the minimum specifications to run a VR headset. This is another standardization to help ease the fears of consumers.
Will VR provide good value for the price?
A large concern for mobile VR is the idea of disposable games. The marketplace for VR is broad, such that enough content exists to meet the demands of consumers. Is the game too short, was it worth it, and did it have cool features? Breadth provides variety, not quality. The depth of content is still being developed, which is where some concerns may lie. Depth will influence these concerns.
It is easy to find short and simple VR games. A bit of rigorous research will bring many solid games full of depth as well as premium experiences. What constitutes a deep game is subjective and to the consent of the consumer. As a market, this deepness should have a definition.
Look back to 1983 when consumers lost confidence in console games. The Nintendo “Official Seal of Quality” provided confidence in the Nintendo Entertainment System to weary consumers during the Video Game Crash of 1983. This may be less important to games than they were, but for a new marketplace, this depth needs a neutral basis that the public can identify and relate too. Perhaps this is one method to standardize what constituents a deep and engaging VR experience.
Consumer confidence is a major force that influences the adoption rate of new products, especially for VR. By providing standards that are neutral, unbiased, and informative, people will be willing to consider VR as an option for media consumption.