Not Child’s Play – Upcoming VR gaming consoles and their age restrictions

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Playstation VR

Amid concerns that new VR technology is going to affect the minds of kids in unusual and unsavory ways, companies like Sony, HTC and Oculus are launching the new hardware with a minimum age limit.

Kids have a developing mind that can easily be influenced negatively by the overly immersive experience VR hardware is capable of producing. To counter the health concerns, VR companies have set age limits for their devices. Sony is the latest to set the age-limit at the lowest with 12 whereas Oculus has gone with 13+. HTC VIVE has no age-limit yet but it is expected to ship with an age-limit too.

Simulation sickness is being noted as the biggest problem with the usage of VR technology. It results in motion sickness symptoms like headaches, discomfort, nausea, vomiting and disorientation. While carefully timed and responsible usage may eliminate the problem to some extent, critics fear that children might not be able to act responsibly.

CEO of Oculus Rift Brendan Iribe spoke about the problem in an interview at this year?s Code Conference.

?This is a different technology,? he continued, ?It?s early days and we really are trying to be conscious of health and safety.?

He continued further, ?We put a warning on right when you put it on and the age of 13 was something that made a lot of sense when we became a part of Facebook, their age is 13 as well. And so we just felt ?let?s start at 13, let?s evolve the technology more, let?s build more confidence, in the health and safety side of it. And eventually, one day, we definitely want to have Oculus for kids, especially for all the educational use of this.?

Sony?s age-limit for the Playstation VR was revealed in Playstation 4?s new 3.50 firmware update, which includes health and safety guidelines for the use of VR technology with the system.

It looks like VR technology is going to be first tested on adults and then developed further for other uses like education. The only thing that one cannot be sure of is what if kids somehow get hands on the device and view content that might influence their development negatively. Issues like these need to be weeded out before the technology can safely be rolled out for wider usage. ?

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