Why do people suffer from motion sickness in virtual reality? Many users have reported that while testing the revolutionary technology for the first time, even if they are someone who doesn’t traditionally get immobile, they may find themselves feeling very nauseous after just a short session.
This has led many to wonder if there is a way to prevent themselves from developing motion sickness, or why this happens in the first place. What makes VR so popular, even among the best VR headsets, and is there anything that games can do on a one-on-one basis in order to make it easier for gamers?
With more and more virtual reality games emerging, and hearing headphones like the Valve Index and Oculus Quest 2 (now renamed Meta Quest 2) continue to grow in popularity, it’s a factor many people eager to enter the space are considering.
Why does VR make you feel sick?
The exact reason why virtual reality is making you sick is something that will be highlighted more as technology continues to grow and research on how to make it more comfortable for the widest possible audience is gaining momentum. The research into traditional motion sicknesses, such as car sickness or seasickness, is much further afield, and according to those who have researched it, it’s all about how your brain reacts to what it believes to be true, and what you signal it receives.
According to Dr. Hilary Hawkins: “You don’t get sick while you’re walking; you get sick when the body is in a stationary position but something else is generating the movement,” Hawkins told Live Science. “The balance centers in your inner ear perceive something different from reality.”
This pretty much sums up why games are so popular that they cause motion sickness. In big RPGs or first-person shooters, you often don’t just move forward but also move at a fast pace, making your brain instantly cross its wires in terms of how to respond, hence motion sickness.
In order to combat motion sickness, Hawkins recommended “keep mixed signals to a minimum,” but doing so in virtual reality is tricky, particularly when the experience typically revolves around wearing not just a headset but large headphones and controllers, making it a difficult experience Escape them unless you are willing to take out some equipment quickly.
This is something a lot of developers are considering. Legendary developer John Carmack has long been an advocate and pioneer of VR with strong ideas about what makes a player sick and what doesn’t.
During his time at Oculus, Tweeted “Gym control is such a poison of virtual reality that removing it might be the right move – a swivel chair/stand or no play.” This is important to consider, especially with the number of flight-based games that have appeared on VR platforms. Games often counter this by including a static reference to the playing space, such as a cockpit or something similar.
Stick yaw control is such a poison to VR that removing it might be the right move – swivel chair/stand or no play.January 8, 2015
How to avoid motion sickness in virtual reality
In the end, exactly what works for each player will vary based on your circumstances and the types of experiences you have in VR. Faster-paced games such as first-person shooters and some music games can be a bit too intense, and the high amount of movement is known to cause some problems in VR.
However, by being in moderation, slowly training your eyes on the platform, and making sure you take regular breaks from playing, you may be able to reduce or eliminate some of your problems altogether. This won’t work for everyone, and unfortunately, at this point in technology there are still some people who can’t use VR, but we hope that as technology expands and becomes more integrated into other forms of technology, these issues will be resolved.
It’s also helpful to do a lot of research on the games you’re interested in playing in VR to see if they have any places or ways to make you feel better when playing. Many games that require a lot of acceleration or fast movement have toggles that slow these movements down, or add dark frames to the sides of the screen to reduce the effect of quickly rocking the camera and your head.
Games like Skyrim VR are beginning to implement different patterns of movement that allow you to turn, rather than walk, to any point your character needs to, which is said to help reduce some of the mental stress that large games with traditional human-like movement experience. could cause.
There are plenty of recent VR experiences that have these options, so it’s definitely worth checking out before you decide to invest in a headset.
If you have friends or family who have headphones, we definitely recommend trying them out if you have the chance. While all headphones are fairly similar in form factor, some, like the Oculus Quest 2, are much lighter than things that require cables.
This can affect a person’s experience of motion sickness as grounding by a cable can reduce the player’s physical movement, thus reducing stress on the player’s cognition. Light wireless headphones such as the Oculus Quest 2 may make the player move more freely, thus causing symptoms of motion sickness more easily. Trying on different headphones and finding the right one for you is an important part of the process, so we really recommend finding somewhere, like a VR store or café, that will allow you to take it for a spin.
Virtual reality is one of, if not the most immersive, form of technology. While it is primarily used by gamers to take the medium into a new dimension, and by many industries in order to revolutionize the way they do things, it is sure to be a huge part of our lives or lives for years to come.