PS VR2: some tips to not suffer (too much) from the motion sickness effect

Ah, virtual reality… Pushing the limits of screens, exploring digital worlds in total immersion, discovering new ways to play, interact with opponents or NPCs… and feel sick too. When you are not used to it, VR can indeed have some perverse effects and cyberkinetosis (better known by the very British nickname of motion sickness) is certainly the least pleasant.

A story of conflict

A brief word on the origin of the problem; this occurs when what we observe with our eyes does not correspond to what our senses interpret, and particularly our inner ear, the seat of balance and the perception of movements. Put simply, our eyes perceive movement and send the information to the brain (“we see a scrolling landscape”, for example). But, at the same time, the vestibular system of the inner ear sends a completely opposite indication to our neurons: “in my opinion, nothing is moving”. Finally, cyberkinetosis is just a simple motion sickness, from which it takes its name: motion sickness. As such (and despite its slightly worrying name), cyberkinetosis is a benign pathology that affects 25 to 60% of virtual reality practitioners, according to figures from the site.

Several theories clash – or complement each other – to explain the negative effects caused by this phenomenon. That of “sensory conflict” is the most commonly accepted: our body does not know how — yet — to manage contradictory information, which would explain inappropriate reactions (nausea, headaches, sweating, loss of balance, etc.). For the record, some luminaries prefer the poison theory. The effects of VR – the conflict between the senses therefore – would be interpreted by our brain as poisoning, the symptoms of which would be this loss of bearings. And to increase the chances of survival, nothing better than a rapid evacuation of the harmful substance, hence the vomiting. Enjoy your food !

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A few basic tips

Good news, we can get used to this phenomenon and educate our brain to dominate motion sickness. However, in order for the first parts of Horizon: Call of the Mountain do not necessarily end up with their heads in a smelly basin, we can follow these few tips stamped with the seal of common sense.

Practice at 100% of your abilities

We therefore avoid the absorption of alcohol (or any other psychotropic substance) before a VR session, as well as a heavy meal. In the same vein, it is best not to get into VR if you are tired.

Choose your game

For the first attempts, even if the prospect of a Gran Turismo VR is most enticing, it is preferable to avoid games with too sudden changes of direction and what therefore relates to piloting. However, we can try to flight simulator or at Ace Combat a little later, once VR is better accepted by our brain. pro-tipit seems that games in which the player is truly active (so he is standing and turning to change the angle of vision) cause less nausea: logical since the information from the eyes and the inner ear overlap a little more.

Properly adjust the options of VR games

The developers are aware of all these nausea issues and provide a few options to avoid them; for example, in FPS games (first person shooter, in first person view via the eyes of the avatar), several kinds of movements are proposed. Thus can we reduce cyberkinetosis by managing rotations and displacements “image by image”, as in the very old dungeon-crawlers or as in Myst, closer to home. Admittedly, it can be frustrating not being able to enjoy smooth movements like those of Cyberpunk 2077 immediately, but with practice, it will come. We therefore advise you not to underestimate the help offered during your first attempts.

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Do not prolong the game in case of discomfort

Unless you’re masochistic, it’s useless — and even counterproductive — to push a session when you start to feel the first symptoms of cyberkinetosis. From the first signs, even weak, it is better to put the helmet back on and wait for the discomfort to pass on its own. We also avoid getting back into it too quickly. A little rest can only do good to avoid being sick too long.

Put all the assets on your side

In addition to these few logical tricks, there are also less logical little tricks to try without too much risk.

Don’t play on an empty stomach

Even if it seems paradoxical, it is better not to have an empty stomach to take full advantage of your VR headset. Attention, it is also necessary to know how to keep reason and not to guzzle before embarking on the game.

Inject yourself with acupuncture

There are bracelets on the market that stimulate certain very specific acupuncture points which reduce the effect of motion sickness. It is difficult to judge their effectiveness, but at least they have the merit of being harmless.

The benefits of ginger

Did you know that, according to the Vidal, the WHO recognizes as “clinically justified” the use of ginger in “the prevention of nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness and seasickness ? All is said. How you consume it is up to you; capsules, herbal tea, powder… Which doesn’t spoil anything, it can be used for prevention or to relieve an attack.

A breath of fresh air

It would seem that a light breeze on the face during a VR session helps to avoid cyberkinetosis. If this does not have the desired effect, this little fresh wind will limit – a little – the discomfort of excess perspiration induced by wearing a helmet, which is not always comfortable on this point.

Do not practice alone

If you’re not afraid of ridicule, you can play with your VR headset with someone in the same room. According to some specialists, motion sickness and its virtual counterpart are aggravated by stress, which can lead to a vicious circle: the more one fears motion sickness, the more likely one is to suffer from it. The presence of a loved one to reassure us would limit the effects of motion sickness. Again, if nothing is proven, this solution has the merit of not making things worse.

What Else Can Be Done — But We’re Not Advocating

Other solutions require active substances such as drugs against nausea or motion sickness. Cannabis could also be used to limit the symptoms of motion sickness. But, quite honestly, for a reason as trivial as video games – even for an excellent title – it is better to limit yourself to the methods described a little above and which will have no impact on your health… unless you be allergic to ginger.

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