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Is Virtual Reality Addiction Real?



In 2019, the global virtual reality market had a value of 10.32 billion and had expected to grow at an annual compound growth rate of 21.6%, at least through 2027. Virtual reality applications are found across business industries, proving to be a valuable tool in areas such as surgical training. In this article, we will look into the home gaming market. We will review research to determine if virtual reality addiction is real and should be of concern.


The growth in virtual reality demonstrates an impressive positive response to this relatively new technology. VR hardware and software developers continue to bring to market various solutions that benefit both corporate and consumer users. 

At Facebook Connect, we learned that their Quest platform, after its first four and a half months, already had 60 titles generating revenue in the millions. Developers of all sizes see meaningful revenue growth on the Quest Platform, thanks mainly to Quest 2’s technical capabilities and impressive wireless capabilities.


What is helping to fuel the growth in VR?


In 2020, Covid 19 resulted in the majority of corporations shifting to work at home models. corporations moved regularly scheduled in-person meetings to online platforms such as Zoom. 

One of the downsides of all the online meetings was that a new term called “Zoom fatigue” began to circulate through corporations, leaving leaders to search for creative solutions to enhance interest in their meetings. As a result, virtual reality solutions expanded to offer the ability to meet in VR.


VR Growth in the consumer market


As impressive as the growth is in the VR corporate market, it is small compared to the growth of VR in the consumer market. 

The global virtual reality in gaming market size was valued at USD 11.56 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.2% from 2020 to 2027.

With such growth, some social scientists and health professionals are raising concerns about whether virtual reality gaming is addictive. There have been numerous studies on in-home computer-based gaming and even people who are addicted to TV. The concern is that this new, more immersive environment technology may be as addicting or perhaps even more addicting.  


A Study of VR Addiction


Unfortunately, there have not yet been many studies on virtual reality addiction. In 2018 ResearchGate surveyed virtual reality gaming addiction. The purpose of the study was to determine if:

  • Some VR games are addicting?

  • What is the impact of a VR addiction? 

  • And can anything be done to solve the problem?


The Research


In addition to reviewing the available literature, a survey of 36 gamers,

Twenty-two males and 13 females, ages 16-24, were conducted. 

The research revealed that:

  • Most gamers learned about games through youtube or friends.

  • What makes the games attractive was how real the experience felt.

  • While most gamers spent 2-4 hours playing, some spent 6-8 hours per day

  • Most gamers surveyed agreed it can be addicting.


This research also identified the most popular VR games that may lead to addiction and why they make them addictive, the negative impacts that gamers will suffer from if they are addicted to VR games, and proposed solutions to overcome this problem. 

Conclusions

The primary challenge with reaching conclusions on virtual reality addiction was that there is no established research to prove that VR gaming addiction is a problem. Therefore, researchers concluded that they would treat VR gaming addiction as similar to any media addiction. As with any media addiction, playing VR games for hours can cause any of the following conditions:

  • depression

  • anxiety

  • attention deficit disorder

  • obesity

  • sleep problems

  • increased aggression

  • Neck pain

  • anti-social behavior

Moderating your time in Virtual Reality or limiting exposure to people who are predisposed to addictive behaviors can curb the negative effects and lead to e beneficial experience for all.

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