Virtual reality has the potential to completely change our lives as the lines between our physical and virtual worlds become increasingly blurred. With rapid advances in technology, the possibilities are endless.
This blog is an essential read for clinicians who want to keep up to date with trends in the international gaming industry. It explores what virtual reality currently offers, its future direction and the associated risks of addiction.
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment that either simulates the physical world or offers a totally different experience. Users are immersed in their surroundings through a computer or video console, or via a virtual reality headset or helmet.
The history of virtual reality1 dates back to the 1930s with the publication of science fiction novel, “Pygmalion’s Spectacles” by Stanley Weinbaum which introduced the concept of holographic virtual reality. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that virtual reality became widely accessible to the public through the launch of arcade games and machines.
There are three types of virtual reality2 available today, although technology is advancing rapidly:
Although virtual reality has been widely adopted by the gaming industry, it’s being increasingly employed in other sectors to enhance the user experience, streamline business processes, improve safety and train staff:
In 2021, Oculus sold more headsets than Microsoft sold Xboxs.
According to Statista3, the global virtual reality market size is forecast to increase from around US$5 billion in 2021 to more than US$12 billion by 2024.
Virtual reality looks set to develop beyond all recognition over the coming years. As the lines between our physical and virtual worlds become increasingly blurred it’s likely that we’ll experience virtual reality in ways that we cannot yet imagine. Forbes4 has made some future predictions of how this technology might reshape our lives:
One future direction of virtual reality is the metaverse – a 3D space that does not yet exist where people can game, work and communicate. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg5 describes it as “an embodied internet where instead of just viewing content – you are in it.” Meta6 – the new brand that owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger – is investing US$150 million in virtual reality and augmented reality training and resources to bringing the metaverse to life. Find out more about the metaverse and how it will transform our world.
Although virtual reality is being used in many areas of life, there is still some confusion with augmented reality (AR). The main difference is the user experience. Augmented reality overlays digital imagery on a physical-world setting, whereas virtual reality uses a computer-generated environment.
An example of augmented reality in gaming7 is Pokémon Go, a free smartphone game. Players find and capture animated Pokémon characters that pop up in real-world locations – streets, parks, buildings and bodies of water.
As well as enhancing the game experience by making it more immersive, there are other benefits of virtual reality video games:
Find out more about the benefits of gaming.
There are also negative aspects of virtual reality gaming:
Clinicians need to keep up to date with developments in the gaming industry – including advances in virtual reality – to enhance client engagement and offer culturally competent treatment practices.
At INTENTA, we envisage a future where virtual and augmented reality support our shared well-being. Our Gaming Disorder Clinical Training equips professionals with practical prevention tools and intervention strategies to help players enjoy a safer and healthier video game experience, and move away from compulsive use towards the intentional use of VR technology.
Improve your quality of care for gaming clients and their families. Find out more about our training today.
Enter your email to receive monthly trends, insights and resources on gaming and digital disorders.
Enter your email to receive monthly trends, insights and resources on gaming, esports and mental health.
Enter your email to receive immediate access to Lesson One of our internationally-accredited Gaming Disorder Clinical Training.