With the new PSVR (PlayStation VR) headset on the way to players all over the world, virtual reality is on the forefront of parents’ minds. The world of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) is fascinating and, in all fairness, kind of confusing. Some of these experiences aren’t just relegated to video games, either. Let’s dive into some definitions and recommendations.
Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive experience that is accessed through a headset that covers a player’s eyes and controllers that act as haptic (to simulate the sense of touch) feedback and interactivity in the experience itself. Headsets provide a field of view (FOV), on average, between 96 and 108 degrees so it doesn’t quite mirror a human’s full FOV, but it gets close. As a result of modern VR hardware, VR allows a player to fully immerse themselves in anything from a video game to chat to movies.
Augmented reality (AR) superimposes a digital world onto the physical world, which allows players to see virtual objects in their physical environment. AR is typically accessed through a smartphone or tablet, which uses a camera to display the real world and overlay virtual objects on top of it. The best example of AR in video games would be Pokemon Go, the world’s most successful AR video game.
Mixed reality (MR) is a combination of VR and AR technology, which allows players to interact with virtual objects in a way that is tethered to the physical world. MR requires special headsets (HoloLens, Magic Leap, and nReal are best known) and many of these headsets have not been updated in at least four years. It’s supposed to create experiences that feel seamless between virtual objects and the real world in a way that AR or VR couldn’t manage alone.
One of the most important things to remember about virtual reality headsets is that they are not recommended for children under 13, namely due to their growing eyes and the eye strain that VR requires for everyone that uses the headsets. Though there isn’t peer-reviewed research to explore the sensory effect on children in VR, everything in virtual reality is much more vivid than they are on a flat screen. Violence in VR is particularly jarring, as are startling changes in environment or proximity.
For children over 13, it’s important to enforce rigid time limits to minimize long-term eye strain. We recommend three hours maximum time in VR with breaks every thirty minutes to give eyes a break.
Additionally, all VR requires enough room (8×10 rectangle of space is recommended) to move safely. The Meta Quest & Quest II require a “guardian” space to alert players when they are about to move into space that is no longer defined as “safe” within the operating system. Controllers should always be strapped and tethered to one’s wrists (like the Nintendo WiiMotes) and hands to make sure that controllers don’t get tossed across the room by accident.
Check out EFG Essentials list for the Meta Quest. We also recommend the very adorable What the Bat?, a VR spiritual successor to What the Golf? from Triband.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!
Follow us on Facebook!
Like us on Twitter!
Follow us on Instagram!
Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Subscribe to our Podcast!