Toronto, Feb 14 (IANS) Storylines that provide context and emotionally evocative details can help users feel immersed in virtual reality (VR) experiences and can reduce feelings of nausea, disorientation and eye strain, especially for those with little experience of playing video games, new research has found.
“We found that people who had little to no experience playing video games had reduced cybersickness if they received this enhanced narrative, but regular video gamers did not need it because they were not predisposed to feeling symptoms,” said Seamas Weech from University of Waterloo in Canada.
“What that tells us is that the actual design of the VR simulation’s storyline itself can reduce the negative impact some people experience with VR technology,” Weech said.
The researchers recruited 42 participants from the university, then 156 at a new media technology exhibition in Kitchener, Ontario, and had them experience virtual reality.
Before entering the simulation, the participants listened to a story about what they were about to experience, but half were given bare-bones details, and the other half were given an enhanced narrative, which included emotionally evocative details.
All participants who heard the enhanced story reported significantly more “presence” in VR — the feeling of being there — but only the non-gamers experienced reduced cybersickness.
“Enriched narratives seem to enhance presence and reduce cybersickness due to the decreased focus on problems with the multiple inputs to their senses,” said Michael Barnett-Cowan, a member of Waterloo’s Games Institute.
“What’s really striking is that we saw the benefits of enriched narratives across a sample of people from 8 to 60 years of age. This brings us closer to an inclusive way to enhance experiences in virtual reality through game design,” said Sophie Kenny, a postdoctoral researcher at the Games Institute.