Tuesday, October 25, 2016

VR can bring out the worst or best in people

photo by u/HollowedRecords
It seems that VR can sometimes bring out either the worst or the best in people. ​A woman who was playing a multiplayer VR game was harassed, while VR users on the PSVR and PS4 subreddits raised money to give a Playstation 4 and a Playstation VR to a young man with cerebral palsy.


QuiVR is a multiplayer VR archery game for the HTC Vive in which you team up with up to three other players online to defend a fortress from being attacked by monsters.  A woman tried QuiVR and things were initially going well.  One of the other players, "BigBro442," figured out she was a woman because her headset microphone was on.  He then made grabbing and pinching motions toward her chest.  Even as the woman protested, yelled and moved away, he pursued her and even made grabbing motions at her crotch.  The incident was particularly troubling for the woman because she had been assaulted before, and she felt similar shock and disgust, even though she was not being physically assaulted.  Sadly, when she Tweeted about it, many people were unsympathetic and pooh-poohed her, claiming that she was just "whining."

Similar incidents have been known to happen to other women in other multiplayer VR games and apps such as Altspace VR, where users can meet other people in VR through avatars.  Altspace has since developed a personal bubble feature that will prevent people from entering their personal space.  QuiVR's developer said that he would implement a similar feature as well.

VR INSPIRES COMPASSION
While VR has brought out the worst in some people, VR has inspired people to be more compassionate.   Last week, redditors from the r/PS4 and r/PSVR subreddits raised money for a redditors' brother with cerebral palsy to buy him a PS4 and a Playstation VR.  Enough money was raised to buy two more VR games as well.

Other VR users have also tried to share VR with people with disabilities.  This summer, Dillon Hill, a 17-year old from Sacramento created a charity called Gamers' Gift to allow people with physical or mental disabilities to feel experiences in virtual reality that would otherwise be difficult impossible for them, such as skydiving or touring the Grand Canyon.  Dillon has taken his HTC Vive to nursing homes and children's hospitals.

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