The future is here, whether or not people choose to accept it, and it is coming in the form of PlayStation Virtual Reality (VR) and other VR devices. If one listens closely, they will hear a revolution brewing that will sweep across the world and redefine humanity for better or worse. PlayStation, with its client base of millions, is preparing for the future of what could be the most significant technological breakthrough since the personal computer. VR could quite possibly become a defining moment in the history of the technological revolution.
Primarily seen as a new way to heighten the gaming experience for customers, the PlayStation VR has become subject to the age-old debate over whether video games are beneficial to society or not. The violence prevalent in many of PlayStation and other gaming system libraries has been the subject of one of the most controversial issues in this generation. While some researchers at Horizon found that test subjects exhibited only a 4 percent increase in aggression levels after playing violent games, avid believers hold true to their conviction of the link between violent games and violent behavior.
More still wonder how much impact gaming with consoles, like PlayStation, has on the individual’s cognition. Researchers have found that it correlates to an increase in the test subjects’ motor skills and visual activity. In one case, Professor Simone Kuhn, at the Max-Planck Institute for Human Development, found brain growth in areas of the brain associated with fine motor skills. Still, from a sociological standpoint, the effects of gaming might have consequences that are harder to quantify on the gamer’s social and family life. It may serve as a distraction from productive activities. The paradox of the argument will spiral until the end of time.
What is certain is that VR, made possible by systems like PlayStation, is starting a revolution. Not only will the 1.2 billion video gamers out there want to get their hands on this technology, but creators and designers of the three largest VR devices, PlayStation, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vice, argue that the audience and scope of VR technology will expand drastically. Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, used to work with therapists treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His technology has been, and will continue to be, used to innovate therapy for victims of PTSD. It will also be able to expand into other areas of therapy. In fact, the health industry has leaped toward VR and is using it to improve the training of surgeons and emergency responders.
Luckey also says the impacts of VR on systems, like his Oculus and the PlayStation VR, might also have a profound effect on other forms of entertainment. Luckey states that VR might influence the storytelling mediums of movies and television. While the effect of VR in movies and television is still subject to debate among professionals in both industries, it could possibly take the viewer into the minds of the production crew, allowing him to enter into an entirely new world, which is certainly a fascinating thought.
Regardless of one’s personal views on video games and their place in society, the industry has created PlayStation VR, a technology so revolutionary that it will change many aspects of the way a great number of people live. VR systems have already branched away from video games and into other industries from healthcare to entertainment. With such a profound development in the technological sphere, VR, whether it be PlayStation, Oculus, or HTC, is here to stay.
Opinion by Harrison Baker
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne
BBC News: Horizon: How Video Games Change Your Brain
The Wallstreet Journal: Virtual-Reality Movies: Getting Ready for the VR Revolution
WIRED: Oculus’s Founder on Pro’s and Con’s of VR for Social Good
Image Courtesy of Jon Fingus’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License