Does VR headgear ward off or call in the zombies?

Part 3 of 3: End the reign of the screen zombies! Virtual Reality as is often shown today is quite cool. It can be even better when it is AR (augmented reality), like Zspace  with see-thru displays that help you interact with the real world and virtual one at the same time. It’s when you completely close out the outside world that I believe there is a mismatch with children’s play patterns.

It’s like that “Murder She Wrote” episode from 22 years ago where she has wears a head mount and gloves and is walking into walls because she is trying to manipulate the real world in a virtual world – a world that doesn’t link well to the physical one.  In the years up to and since that fictional representation of VR, researchers and our teams have studied human interaction with virtual worlds and feedback and control and discovered important keys to success.

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What is reflected about VR in the popular media today still reflects some of the disconnects we saw 22 years ago. For example, being wrapped inside goggles and special clothing isn’t something a child is likely to weave into their everyday life–especially when they are used to picking up a mobile device on the spur of the moment for 5 minute sessions. Yes, today headsets are cheaper and the quality is better than 22 years ago, but the play patterns and how they fit into a child’s world are issues that have not been resolved.

I believe that these immersive VR experiences will still play in theme parks and be compelling to hard-core gamers. But to the typical home gamer, and especially to the younger set, it is not what is missing from their lives. They need the ability to play with friends and interact with the real world.

VR today is limited by where you can navigate and what you can play. This, compared to real-world toys that come not just from the mind of the game developer, but from the mind of the child who is playing. As a parent, I would much rather have my child using a game that gave them creativity cues and let them move around in space and talk to their friends and look at their friends in the eye than to put block their eyes and isolate them even more than they are today as a mobile game screen zombie buried in their tablet or phone.

How do you think fully immersive VR will play out in the family-based gaming and play markets?

Don’t forget to read part 1 and part 2 of this series!

And, to ward off the zombies once and for all, see www.gazintu.com.

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