I’ve been looking forward to PSVR 2 for quite some time because of a promise. This next-gen VR headset for PlayStation 5 will finally beat motion sickness. One of the reasons VR has bumbled under everyone’s radar but never fully taken off is because it can be nauseating. PSVR 2 has the advanced technology to solve this concern, or so I thought.
Let’s recap a little. Having owned and played regularly on PSVR for PS4, I had the misfortune of playing Fracked for review, a game so poorly optimized that I needed to lay in a dark room for nearly two hours to settle my stomach. As a sort of VR aversion cure, even the thought of picking up the PSVR again made me sick.
Then PSVR 2 comes along and I’m back in VR again and, for a while, no purrs. Read my review of the PSVR 2 for more on how I found the hardware to use overall, but an hour into Horizon Call Of The Mountain and the familiar heat rise, an uneasiness in my stomach and I just had to opt out of the next one Sony’s next generation VR hardware.
Motion sickness in VR is common. It can also be something you can train your body to adapt to and overcome. It can be caused by low framerates and input lag, two areas where PSVR 2 excels. I also have to give PSVR 2 and developer Horizon Firesprite their due, as I managed a solid hour and a bit of gameplay before feeling the sickness creep up .
But I’m a gamer and I need to experience the latest thrills and technology. That pull even my angry belly can’t deny me. PSVR 2 keeps calling me. There are technical ways in which the new hardware eases motion sickness, for example being able to physically feel the world around you through the controller’s haptics is incredible. Compared to the original PSVR, this new next-gen hardware is impressive.
In fact, after being forced back into Horizon’s metal monster-hewn mountain, I gradually became more accustomed to this virtual world inside PSVR 2. Ultimately, the only real challenge for long stretches of play in this game is my own laziness.
After defeating a mechanical monster by gleefully shooting multiple arrows into its glowing eye, I looked down at a carefully orchestrated cliff face that the game wanted me to climb and found myself shrugging, huffing, puffing, and finally pulling the PSVR 2 out of my head The game felt so real, so physical, I just couldn’t face another climb… for now.
Motion sickness happens when your brain is overwhelmed by instructions that can’t make sense, and in VR there’s a disconnect between what your eyes are telling your brain and what your body is experiencing. There is some debate that VR disease affects women more than men (opens in new tab)on the charge that technology is developed by men for men.
You don’t actually have to suffer motion sickness in PSVR 2, not really. As my time with the headset shows, the more you play the better the experience, and there are ways to relax in these virtual worlds and save you from an upset stomach. Below I’ll go into some detail on how you can beat motion sickness and enjoy PSVR 2.
PSVR 2: how to reduce motion sickness
1. Play in short bursts
The idea is to find your ‘VR legs’ and you can easily do this by taking 15-30 minute breaks and generally playing in short bursts with these regular rests. Most good games made for VR will be designed to play that way, with compressed levels and missions and stages set up with multiple points to take time. You will gradually build up a tolerance to VR and motion sickness will be a thing of the past.
2. Start with lower comfort settings
The developers go to great lengths to ensure you can customize PSVR 2 games the way you want to play. Head into a game’s “comfort settings” and tweak everything to the easiest game settings.
Options like sharp turn reduce motion, for example, as the screen turns gradually instead of smoothly. This may conflict with the desire to immerse ourselves in virtual reality, but there is some science here – we generally “close” our eyes when we turn our head and body, and this apes this movement (we’ve evolved to naturally deal with motion sickness, our smarts).
Over settings include teleportation to jump to parts of the world, and vignettes will close around your eyes to reduce exposure to the world as you move. The key tip here is to turn everything on and gradually turn those comfort features off as you acclimatize.
Read my guidePSVR 2: Everything you need to knowFor more details on the technology behind this new VR headset for PS5.
3. Choose your first game wisely
Even the best PSVR 2 games will induce motion sickness in first-time players. It’s not ideal to jump straight into a frantic race in Gran Turismo 7 or a chaotic fight to the death in Resident Evil Village, no matter how amazing those experiences are on PSVR 2. The best thing to do if you’re new to VR is to start with more casual games that are slower and less stressful.
If you jump into a game like GT7, which is one of the best ps5 games for PSVR 2 then I would recommend starting with slower cars and challenges and working your way up to the faster cars and busy races.
My three picks for first-time VR players on PSVR 2 would be:
- Moss & Moss Book II: you see the world from above and guide a little mouse through puzzle rooms and it’s a relaxing experience.
- Kayak VR Mirage: a slow-paced experience that lets you ‘paddle’ at your own pace. This is about immersion, not vibration, and the motion feels smooth.
- Tetris Effect Linked: I can spend hours on this game. single screen and easy puzzle gameplay combined with hypnotic graphics make this just fine.
4. Make sure the headphones fit
This seems like an obvious one, but you really need to ensure that the PSVR 2 headset is fitted correctly, and that includes calibration. PSVR 2 is an advanced piece of VR technology, and one of the most critical parts of the setup process is lining up the lenses with your eyes. Get this right and games are crips and share, get it wrong and things can look blurry and suffer from chromatic aberration, both of which can cause headaches.
Also make sure the headphones are not too tight, especially around your forehead and nose. Stress here can cause headaches. Play around with the settings and keep checking the settings to make them work for your comfort.
Read my ‘PSVR 2: Everything you need to know’ guide to find out exactly what this next-gen VR headset for PS5 can do.
5. Chew gum?
I came to play PSVR 2 and chew gum, and I don’t have gum. Too bad, as chewing gum (or candy) while playing VR has been shown to help with motion sickness. If you’re a restless traveler, you’ll already know about it, and it works in VR, too.