Potential impact of virtual reality on gamers' wellbeing to be discussed at conference

The potential impact of immersive gaming technologies on the wellbeing of gamers will be discussed during a conference at Nottingham Trent University.

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Virtual reality devices will soon be available for unregulated use in the home

The potential impact of immersive gaming technologies on the wellbeing of gamers will be discussed during a conference at Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Angelica Ortiz De Gortari, a cyber-psychologist at the University, will talk about the challenges and opportunities that highly-realistic virtual reality devices may have for gamers as part of the Interactive Technologies and Games Conference (ITAG) which takes place on 22-23 October.

From next year, virtual reality devices and technologies will be available for unregulated use in the home for the first time.

Understanding the possible post-effects of virtual reality and immersive technologies is important for a variety of reasons.

Dr Angelica Ortiz de Gortari, Nottingham Trent University

Over the last five years, Dr Gortari has carried out several studies into the concept 'game transfer phenomena' (GTP) on conventional consoles and devices. GTP is a common occurrence responsible for gamers experiencing altered perceptions and involuntary thoughts and behaviours after playing.

Gamers have reported seeing images, hearing sounds, feeling tactile sensations, perceiving distorted environments, experiencing involuntary movements of fingers and mixing up events in the game with those in the physical world.

"The imminent arrival of more highly-immersive technologies for entertainment brings exciting possibilities for developers and users, but also raises important questions regarding the impact on wellbeing," said Dr Ortiz De Gortari, who is based in the University's School of Social Sciences.

She said: "We want to initiate a discussion about the challenges and opportunities which the use of highly-immersive gaming technologies may posit. Understanding the possible post-effects of virtual reality and immersive technologies – as well as being ahead of time – is important for a variety of reasons.

"Future work may involve looking to ensure their safe use, or reducing any potential physical or psychosocial implications, as well as working to identify ways to maximise benefits of applying these technologies to learning or therapy."

The ITAG conference – organised by Nottingham Trent University's School of Science and Technology – takes place in the Council House in Nottingham's Old Market Square. It brings together academics and practitioners working with interactive technologies to explore and innovate within the areas of education, computing, health and disability.

As well as a wide range of research, the conference will also involve a 'hackathon' – a computer programming and game design competition, whereby teams participate locally or internationally to create a game based on a particular theme.

ITAG organiser David Brown, Professor of Interactive Systems for Social Inclusion at Nottingham Trent University, said: "There will be some fantastic research on show in this year's ITAG conference. A key aspect will involve working with community groups to explore how we can create real impact using technologies and games in special education, mental health and dementia."

ITAG 2015 takes place during the annual GameCity festival (22-31 October) which is celebrating its tenth anniversary with its longest, biggest and most exciting event to date.

Potential impact of virtual reality on gamers' wellbeing to be discussed at conference

Published on 21 October 2015
  • Category: Research; School of Science and Technology; School of Social Sciences

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