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Virtual Reality Unmasked: Conquering the ‘Terrors’ of Trying VR

Vr fears horror poster

We’ve been involved in the VR world for quite some time now.  In the early days, it was common to encounter people hesitant about giving VR a go.  We put this down to the novelty of the technology and thought that as time went on, these VR fears and apprehensions would disappear.  However, VR usage has grown massively in recent years, and surprisingly to us, there is still a certain amount of fear among some people about trying it out.    Yes, one might argue that a VR headset isn’t the best hair accessory, but many of the common concerns around VR are based more on myths than reality. In this blog, we aim to dispel some of these fears and, hopefully, encourage those who’ve been hesitant to embrace the exciting world of Virtual Reality next time the opportunity arises.

VR is not just for Gaming 

People who are interested in gaming rarely pass up their first chance to try VR. However, those who aren’t into games might get the idea that VR is “not for them”. But VR’s applications extend far beyond gaming. VR experiences encompass travel, entertainment, fitness, meditation, training, and yes – gaming! It would be a shame to miss out on the diverse and enriching experiences that VR offers, simply because of a misconception. VR’s versatility makes it a valuable tool for various interests and professions, offering unique and immersive experiences that cater to a wide array of tastes and needs.

You are not going to break the hardware! 

There’s a common perception among VR novices that these devices are exorbitantly priced. It’s true that VR headsets aren’t the cheapest gadgets on the market. However, they’re not prohibitively expensive either. For first-time VR users, the fear of damaging the headset is often a concern, but rest assured, these devices are built to withstand regular use. The most you might encounter is a loss of tracking or the need to reset the guardian system – both of which are straightforward fixes. So, if you’re apprehensive about VR headsets being overly complex, you can put those fears to rest. They’re not delicate scientific instruments, and they’re certainly not going to break from normal use. 

Overcoming Fear of Cyber Sickness

Cyber sickness, also known as VR sickness, is akin to the motion sickness some people, particularly children, experience during car travel. It stems from a disconnect between what your eyes see and how your body moves. Despite some articles on the internet (even from reputable sources) suggesting that cyber sickness is an inevitable downside of VR for certain individuals, this isn’t entirely accurate. We won’t delve too far into technical details in this blog, but essentially, if a VR experience is well-optimised with consistently high frame rates, users should not experience any nausea. True, some VR games like roller coaster simulations deliberately play on our sense of speed and height to induce a sense of queasiness. However, professional and well-crafted VR experiences are generally optimised to a degree that prevents any discomfort for the user.

Looking Beyond the Headset

Some people’s reluctance to try VR might stem from a concern about looking ‘silly’. The image of wearing a headset and potentially flailing around in a virtual world can be daunting. There’s a fear of appearing foolish, either by looking odd in the headset or by making a mistake in an unfamiliar virtual environment. However, it’s important to remember that everyone using VR is in the same boat. In reality, VR is a space of exploration and learning, and it’s perfectly normal to take time to adjust. Once immersed, the outside world fades away, and the focus shifts to the experience itself. Embracing this new technological frontier is about letting go of self-consciousness and diving into the wonders VR has to offer.

Safety and Vulnerability in VR

Safety concerns are understandable when it comes to VR, especially given how immersive the experience can be. Users can become so absorbed that they lose awareness of their physical surroundings, potentially leading to trips or accidentally striking nearby objects. To mitigate these risks, it’s essential to clear a sufficient space around you, particularly for standing VR experiences. Modern VR headsets come equipped with a ‘guardian system’ that detects and marks the boundaries of your play area, alerting you to furniture, walls, or other obstacles, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.

For those who feel vulnerable with their vision obscured by the headset, it’s important to remember that once your environment is secured, VR is generally safe. The immersive nature of VR content quickly engages your attention, easing concerns about your physical space. Additionally, some of the latest headsets offer a ‘mixed reality’ mode. This feature allows users to seamlessly transition between full VR immersion and a view of their actual surroundings, providing an added layer of comfort and security.

Mersus Technology understands that user comfort is paramount, and the design of our VR training modules takes into account the importance of creating a safe and inclusive environment. Training scenarios are carefully crafted to minimise potential discomfort and address safety considerations. Mersus Technology encourages users to choose a physical space that is familiar and secure, and the passthrough feature on the Quest 3 serves as an additional layer of reassurance.

A vr headset in the style of a classic horror movie poster to illustrate vr fears

Simplicity and User-Friendliness of Modern VR

All developers want their immersive experiences to be fun and easy to use.  Even in the realm of our main business – VR training – where fun is not the primary concern, we always strive to make our VR as user-friendly as possible.   The technicality of how a VR experience looks and how it works are just part of the story – good immersive content has been crafted with a lot of thought put into the user experience.   No one is designing VR that is meant to be tricky or just for the tech-savvy.   VR is for everyone! 

Caring for Your VR Equipment

As mentioned above, VR equipment, though high tech, is not fragile.   But some simple measures can be taken to minimise any risk of damage to your VR equipment.  The first thing that comes to mind is the lenses inside the headset.  These need to be handled with care.  If you are wiping them, do so with a soft microfibre cloth.  Never let the sun shine directly on the lenses.  If your headset is sitting beside you on the desk, turn the lenses away from the window.  Or better yet, keep the headset in a case when it is not in use.   

Minimise any risk of damage to controllers by ensuring that you have enough space around you free of obstruction.   Some of us have experienced getting too into games and hitting ceiling lights with a controller! But remember, keeping simple safety measures in mind will keep your equipment safe and in good working order.  

Accessibility Concerns

Some people may have accessibility concerns about VR, the most obvious being “Do I need to take off my glasses?”  The answer to that one is no! Many headsets fit easily over a pair of glasses, and others need a small attachment to do so.    

Good VR developers prioritise accessibility in their app design, ensuring that users can easily adjust visuals and audio to suit their needs. This includes thorough testing for users with colour blindness, adapting the colour schemes and contrasts to ensure clarity and usability for all. Developers understand that creating truly impactful immersive content requires it to be inclusive, catering to a wide range of needs and comfort levels. By embracing this diversity, VR experiences become more relevant and engaging for a broader audience.

Privacy Fears

As with any digital technology, concerns about privacy and data security may arise. Users may worry about the collection of personal information, tracking of behaviour, or the potential for security breaches. Mersus Technologies understands the paramount importance of user privacy and data security. As a commitment to safeguarding user information, Mersus Technologies adheres to and fully complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This comprehensive regulatory framework ensures that user data is handled with the utmost care and transparency. Mersus Technologies has implemented robust measures to protect against unauthorised access, data breaches, and the misuse of personal information. Users can trust that their privacy is a top priority, and Mersus Technologies is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards in compliance with data protection regulations.

Fears of Social Isolation

Sometimes people imagine a future where extensive use of VR leads to social isolation, as users immerse themselves in virtual worlds rather than interacting with the physical environment or real people. Striking a balance between virtual and real-world interactions is essential for overall well-being.   

The immersive experiences provided by Mersus Technologies are designed to enhance skill acquisition in a controlled and simulated environment, ultimately promoting practical application in real-life scenarios. As part of our commitment to user well-being, Mersus Technologies encourages users to establish a healthy balance between virtual and real-world interactions. Training sessions are designed with realistic time constraints, allowing users to seamlessly integrate their learning experiences into their daily routines. Mersus Technologies believes that the successful integration of VR into training programs can enhance social skills, teamwork, and overall performance, leading to more confident and well-rounded individuals in both virtual and physical spaces.

Lack of Realism in Virtual Reality Environments

There is a concern among some users that the VR world may lack realism and appear overly cartoonish, diminishing the immersive experience and making it challenging to suspend disbelief and that the VR experience wouldn’t feel authentic.

Our development team prioritises cutting-edge graphics and visual fidelity to ensure that virtual environments closely mimic real-world scenarios. We employ advanced rendering techniques, high-resolution textures, and realistic lighting to create visually stunning and lifelike VR environments. Our dedication to pushing the boundaries of VR extends to regular software updates, integrating the latest graphics advancements. This ongoing commitment ensures users continually experience improved realism, alleviating concerns about cartoonish representations and allowing for a truly immersive and convincing virtual presence.

It’s completely natural to feel a bit of trepidation when facing new technologies, and VR is no exception. However, it’s important to recognise that most fears surrounding VR are largely unfounded. The truth is, VR is not as intimidating as it might seem. From concerns about complexity to worries about looking silly, these apprehensions shouldn’t deter you from experiencing the world of VR. 

Understanding what VR truly offers can’t be fully grasped through videos or still images. There’s a unique magic to VR that only comes alive when you’re fully immersed in it. So, if you’ve been holding back due to uncertainties or preconceived notions, it might be time to set those aside. Put on a headset and dive into the experience for yourself. You might just find that VR is far from scary — it’s an exciting, innovative, and accessible technology that opens up a new world of possibilities. Don’t let unfounded fears hold you back from exploring what VR has to offer.