While the virtual reality (VR) industry continues to grow at an impressive rate, there’s been little mention of how compatible the tech will be for children. Oculus VR and Samsung have set at 13+ age limit for using the Gear VR mobile-based head-mounted display (HMD), and it’s thought the former might also do the same for the upcoming Oculus Rift. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), however, has recently suggested that it will be setting an age limit just a little lower than this for its PlayStation VR HMD for PlayStation 4.
It appears that children under the age of 12 won’t be able to use PlayStation VR. As spotted by Eurogamer Italy – and spotted by Attack of the Fanboy – the latest beta for the ongoing tests for the PlayStation 4’s incoming 3.50 software update includes some VR-specific notes. ‘A Health and Safety’ section reads: “The VR headset is not to be used by children under 12 years of age. Check what is around and remove barriers before use. Take measures to prevent pets, children or other obstacles from getting into the area before use.
“Some people may experience motion sickness, nausea, disorientation, blurred vision or other discomfort while viewing the contents of the virtual reality. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop use immediately and remove the VR headset,” the notes conclude.
It will be interesting to see if SCE provides any reasoning behind this age limit. There are many factors to consider in giving children VR experiences, both in terms of health and safety as well as suitability of content that’s greatly enhanced by the medium. Some of the biggest moral panics of the past few decades have revolved around kids getting their hands on videogames that they aren’t old enough to play and you can be sure that such debates will carry over into the realm of VR.
Stay tuned to VRFocus for the latest on this topic and PlayStation VR’s progress in general.