PlayStation VR and The Reality Of Motion Sickness

The perfect Virtual Reality solution has been a pipedream for many gaming technology companies since Nintendo tried to bring it to the mainstream with the Virtual Boy in 1995. As the years have passed, technology has now progressed to the point that we now have three completely viable gaming Virtual Reality headsets in Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and the newly-released and most consumer-friendly, PlayStation VR.

I remember trying the Oculus Rift three years ago and left the demo feeling incredibly motion sick. Albeit, it was literally a demo in which you flew around lava-filled mountains. Regardless, I was left in awe from the experience, but the queasiness was enough to make me concerned about Virtual Reality.

PlayStation VR Worlds’ Scavengers Odyssey

Well, the time is finally here in which we have PlayStation VR, a device which is more affordable, especially for people who already own a PlayStation 4, in comparison to the VIVE and Oculus. However, my number one concern with VR is surrounding the potential for motion sickness, and it’s already interesting to see what people are coming up with to combat the terrible feeling of your head spinning or your stomach-turning.

As I stated in our PLAYSTATION VR REVIEW, I genuinely think that PlayStation VR is the most immersive experience that gaming has ever seen, but If I’m being completely honest, since putting some serious time into the unit, I’ve had mixed experiences when it comes to motion sickness. Nothing has been bad enough to stop me going back to the unit, but there have been definite times where I’ve had to take it off and have felt the effects for an hour or two after.

Until Dawn: Rush Of Blood
Until Dawn: Rush Of Blood

PlayStation VR Worlds (OUR REVIEW) didn’t make me experience any form of motion sickness until I got to Scavenger’s Odyssey. The game has you jumping from rock to rock throughout space and it’s disorientating, to say the least.

On the other hand, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood (OUR REVIEW) made me feel motion sick, but for the right reasons. The game has you on an intense rollercoaster which will make your stomach drop, but this is due to the fact that you’re literally immersed in the game and your body feels as if you’re on a rollercoaster. Thankfully, it isn’t a lasting experience that makes you feel the need to take the headset off.

RIGS: Mechanised Combat League
RIGS: Mechanised Combat League

RIGS is one of the more intense experiences, which Guerilla have obviously taken into account as they’ve placed a number of warnings about building up your time spent with the game. They’ve also built in a number of VR customisation options such as being able to turn with your head and hud elements which is said to reduce the effect of motion sickness. For the most part, I did find myself getting through it and being able to withstand the game for more periods of time compared to other PSVR games.

Batman: Arkham VR (OUR REVIEW) is without doubt the most clever experience available on the console. It has you in some questionable situations, hanging over ledges and jumping from pillar to pillar, but I never once felt motion sick. It seems to perfectly blend your movement by fading to black for just long enough to allow your brain to process the fact that you’re moving around.

Batman Arkham VR
Batman Arkham VR

All of these experiences will differ from person to person and that’s the most important thing to understand when purchasing a VR headset. Everybody has different thresholds and it’s likely developers will learn as they go and implement techniques in game design to make it easier for people to handle it.

But for the time being, motion sickness will be a part of the brilliant VR experience for the foreseeable future. Whirlpool user ‘OverTemperature’ has put together some great tips to help get you through. I’d advise you to stick with it as Virtual Reality looks like it’s here to stay and does provide wonderful and unique experiences.

  • Calibrate it correctly using the advanced calibration, including IPD. Go to settings, Devices, PSVR. For measure eye distance make sure you are exactly 70cm from the screen (use a tape measure).
  • Stick with games that don’t move you around a lot, particularly side to side or up and down
  • Take a break periodically
  • Limit total VR per day. Find what’s right for you but start with 15-30 minutes if you’re particularly susceptible, 1 hr if medium, 2-3 hrs if you feel mostly fine. Build that up over time if your body allows
  • Don’t game while tired
  • Limit use of 360 degree videos, which can increase eye strain and headaches and therefore make motion sickness feel worse
  • Have something to sip (non-alcoholic) and light snacks to nibble on throughout
  • Take ginger tablets