We are, at the time of writing, little over a week away from the launch of PlayStation VR and with it comes Sony’s foray into the crowded virtual reality market.
Offering a more affordable alternative to the likes of HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, excitement for the head-mounted device is palpable, but some aren’t convinced. Chatting to British tabloid The Mirror (via PSLS), Dr. David Allamby, laser eye surgeon of London’s Focus Clinic, warned of the potential health risks that may arise, including a rise of short-sightedness in young people.
Parents and younger people need to know the risks. With VR, we’re going to potentially see more and more people suffering from a lack of exposure to daylight – something which affects the way our eyes naturally grow and which can lead to short-sightedness, or myopia. And because VR prevents our eyes from naturally focusing at a far distance, this too can speed-up the progression of myopia.
Sony, to their credit, have stressed that PlayStation VR shouldn’t be used by anyone under the age of 12 (as you can glean from the image above). And though teenagers are considered old enough to use the hardware, the platform-holder cautions that “adults should monitor them closely for any negative effects during and after their use of the product.”
Some of those negative side-effects include motion sickness, nausea and disorientation. Allamby, however, is more concerned with how PlayStation VR – and its VR counterparts – can affect eyes over extended periods of use.
VR headsets contain two small digital screens, each projected at one eye, creating a stereoscopic effect to create an illusion of depth. The closeness of these to the eyes over intense long periods of use could lead to severe vision strain or neurological issues and needs to be better understood.
It won’t be for everyone, but PlayStation VR has been earmarked for launch on October 13. It’ll be priced at $399 (€399/£349/$549 CAD), and you can have a gander at everything included in the Core Bundle via yesterday’s unboxing video.