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Safety in a new world of games

Posted by Joseph Lieberman on

My mother used to yell at me about the dangers of video games. “You’re sitting too close to the TV!” was a pretty common shout I’d hear from the top of the stars. You can’t even SEE the TV from the top of the stairs! Not that she was wrong… mom radar is a weird thing. However, other than a severe case of Nintendo Thumb I never considered gaming a risky endeavor.

With the rise of Pokemon Go there’s been a lot of articles covering safety while gaming in AR. From muggings to car accidents the simply fact is distracted people in public is always a danger. That’s why pickpockets hang out near street performers, right?

At Antlion though, we’ve been focusing on something else that I want to bring to everyone’s attention. Virtual Reality is one of our favorite topics lately, and as we’ve been talking about it, more and more people have been asking for recommendations for headphones to wear while using VR.

Initially my reaction was, “Well, don’t we want closed back noise isolating or cancelling headphones for full immersion?” The more I think of it, however, the more dangerous that seems. Sure if you’re at a party or have someone else in the house with you it’s fine, but alone, unable to see or hear what is going on in the outside world? That seems incredibly risky… and for what? If the house is quiet then you’re actually LOSING immersion since the closed back headphones will likely have a smaller sound stage.

So, here’s my take on safety in VR. If you’ve got someone else with you, especially in a noisy environment like a big city, use the best closed back headphones you can. However, in any situation you’re alone or if you live somewhere generally quiet, go with your best open back headphones. Never use VR when alone with heavy noise isolation or cancellation devices. Safety in video games, turns out my mom may have been right to be worried!

So, not to get all mom-on-a-fieldtrip like, but, “Do you have a VR buddy?!”

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