Virtual reality is an engrossing experience — so engrossing that it might make some people dizzy, uncomfortable or even frightened.
That’s why Oculus, which will begin selling a virtual reality headset next year, will provide special “comfort ratings” for all the games and other apps that it makes available through its official app store.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told TechCrunch that the company will pre-approve all third-party apps that are offered through its store (similar to Apple’s practice of vetting iPhone apps) and that the company will give the apps different ratings to ensure that consumers know exactly what kind of a virtual world they’re stepping into.
The idea, he said, is to steer people with weak stomachs away from nausea-inducing games, Iribe told TechCrunch. “Something can be comfortable from a disorientation standpoint, where it doesn’t make me feel bad…it doesn’t have crazy locomotion like a roller coaster. But if it is really, really super intense, we do want to give people warnings about that.”
TechCrunch notes that it could also help prevent potentially dangerous scenarios, such as someone having a heart attack when a monster suddenly pops into their view.
Oculus has already said that the third-party apps distributed in its store will have to meet certain criteria. Pornographic content, for instance, will not be allowed. But the company is being very vague when it comes to the kinds of graphical violence it will permit.
When asked whether the Oculus store would have any restrictions on violence, a spokesperson replied with the following statement:
“Oculus only distributes developer content that meets their terms of service, but they aren’t open to discuss what those terms are at this time.”