VR Comes with an Age Restriction

In a recent interview with Re/Code, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe spoke about the age restriction they are putting on their VR headsets. The firm suggests usage of its headsets only for children of 13 years of age and above. According to the very short exchange, it seems that Oculus is afraid of adverse effects in younger children with the use of VR. There is some mention of potential medical effects on younger children without any further quotes on relating research into this field.

On a similar note, Sony suggests that their Playstation VR should not be used by children under the age of 12 years, which is a year younger than the Oculus suggestion. HTC has so far not published any age restriction.

Analyst Comment

Without any details on why they chose to suggest an age restriction we have to guess that they do have some information that is serious enough to put out such a note. Some of the information seems to indicate that the quality of the VR headsets at this point in time is not good enough to avoid any potential harm to people in a critical stage of their vision development. Overall this can be viewed as a critical issue based on research results or the caution of some corporate lawyer trying to avoid any future lawsuits involving young children. Your guess is as good as mine at the moment. – (NH)

As we reported from a conference in Berlin in September last year, we reported that extended use of VR (at the level of several hours at a time) was said to have provoked symptoms that were similar to jet lag. It looks as though there is plenty more work to do. Given what happened to the Nintendo Virtual Boy (it was killed in the market in Japan in days after stories of effects on childrens’ health), I’m not surprised that Oculus is nervous. In looking around, we found this article about a project by Samsung Italia, so it seems that Samsung is not concerned about these issues. (BR)