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VR, my first time: amazing but disturbing

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I live in Kuala Lumpur and at this time of the year the monsoon hits us hard especially during the afternoons and evenings. The rain floods streets and the humid heat renders the air stale and tiring.

So what to do on a Saturday night in this weather? Go to spend an hour at the VR lab.

Last Saturday was my first time (VR-wise) and my boyfriend suggested a ski game to, as he put it, ‘experience fully the power of VR‘. Sure. Why not.

As I was ‘experiencing fully’ the thing, he decided to film me in one of the most ridiculous moments of my young life. You can see it too here.

In conclusion, I found VR to be an extrordinary thing. It’s incredible how effectively real everything feels. I say feels and not looks, as it’s not the graphics that make you believe you’re in other dimension. It’s the whole interaction between the visual illusion and your brain that drives you nuts.

I did feel nausea when jumping on my skis, scared when some snakes tried to eat me, tired after a pub fight and I had a strong headache afterward. But it was totally worth a try and I will likely go again some time.

Yet, I cannot prevent myself from thinking about the potential consequences of VR on human psychology. Using it an hour at an arcade is no biggie but VR will likely become more and more affordable and am sure a good portion of the population will end up having it at home, always accessible.
Controversial studies and correlations have already been made regarding violent screen-videogames and real life aggression. And we also have lots of cases of gaming addiction, particularly in Asia where bootcamps are also held for rehab from technology. So what’s going to happen with VR in the mix too? How many individuals will prefer the virtual reality they build themselfves to their actual lives?

How many people who may already be prone to addicition, violence or psychological trouble will lose their minds with VR?

This is not a criticism. I leave these questions open as I am clueless of what’s going to happen. Yet, I do find that these questions are not asked enough.

Next week I’ll go to the Level Up Conference in KL and hope to find some answers.