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HTC says VR won’t make game addiction worse

Virtual reality is all about immersion, but could that be to the detriment of its most ardent fans?

A senior HTC representative says there’s no risk of VR causing an increase in the number of instances of gaming addiction.

We asked Ryan Hoopingarner, Director of Product Marketing for HTC Vive, whether the issue – which already occurs infrequently with time-consuming games like World of Warcraft and Second Life – could worsen with an immersive platform like VR.

“I don’t think VR will make it worse,” says Hoopingarner. “People will always abuse something. There are drastic stories of pretty much any type of entertainment consumption out there.”

“But I don’t think [VR] is any more susceptible to that than any other medium of entertainment,” he continues.

Virtual realityThe HTC Vive

HTC is the manufacturer behind the fast-approaching Vive virtual reality headset, which is built in conjuction with gaming giant Valve.

According to Hoopingarner, there’s a big focus in the industry towards bringing “social elements to VR”.

He says a number of VR games – including Fantastic Contraption and Tiltbrush – are good examples of how virtual reality isn’t necessarily solitary.

“When we first got Tiltbrush in the office, we started to do these office Pictionary contests, where one person is wearing the Vive and the people outside are trying to guess what the person is drawing,” he tells us, “And to be able to do that in 3D space, I think a lot of people are going to have a lot of fun with the different elements of that type of VR game.”

eagle flightEagle Flight, Ubisoft’s first VR game

Related: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive

Hoopingarner tells us that he doesn’t think people will “hole out in their own little world”.

“I think gamers are starting to dispel their bad rap that they’ve had of living in the basement playing games all day,” he continues. “I’ve played games my entire life and that doesn’t describe me.”

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Are you excited about virtual reality? Tell us your predictions for the future of the platform in the comments below.

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