Could Virtual Reality Seem Real Enough To Kill You?

I will never, ever forget the first time I played F.E.A.R. Years later, the game's dark corridors continue to haunt me and every time I think of Alma, that ghostly little girl, I feel slightly queasy. Still, I guess I'm thankful we didn't have the Oculus Rift in those days.

If you've ever worn a Rift, you'll know how freaking immersive it is. The real world disappears. Heck, if you reach out, you could touch stuff around you. Almost. Now, imagine being immersed in F.E.A.R. Or Doom 3. You could die if you whipped around and found yourself face-to-face with Alma.

"We're very close to having the first death in VR," said Denny Unger, creative director at Cloudhead Games, at a virtual reality panel in Seattle. "When the commercial version comes out, somebody is going to scare somebody to death — somebody with a heart condition or something like that. It is going to happen. Absolutely."

If and when virtual reality hardware goes mainstream, it will no doubt ship with warnings and the usual legal mumbo-jumbo about not using it if you have a known medical condition. But Unger puts the bulk of the responsibility on developers because "VR demands a greater consideration for the well-being of the player."

"If you haven't had the dev kit in your hands, you need to get it in your hands to understand the weight of that consequence," he said. "You really could kill somebody. You really could. We all have to be mindful of that." [Gamesindustry.biz via Geek.com]