We still don't know when PlayStation VR will launch or what it will cost, but now we've learned that Sony advises that the virtual-reality headset not be used by children under age 12. This information stems from a "Health and Safety" notice that is reportedly being shared as part of the PlayStation 4's new 3.5 firmware, which beta testers, including Reddit user KGrizzly, now have access to.
"The VR headset is not for use by children under age 12," reads the line in question. As GamesRadar reports, this is one year younger than the recommended age for Oculus Rift and Gear VR. Below is the full Health and Safety notice.
Another Reddit user, kumoishibo, offered an explanation about why VR may be problematic for children.
"The biggest issue when dealing with children and any Head Mounted Display (HMD), is to take into consideration the Interpupillary distance (IPD)," this person said.
As GamesRadar explains, "IPD is the distance between the center of the pupils in our eyes. It's essential info for binocular viewing systems where pupils need to be positioned within a certain range to experience VR correctly and without strain."
"Adult averages usually fall around 63mm however there is quite a variation based on gender, race, and age making these values fluctuate between 48 and 73 mm," kumoishibo said. "This means the further your eyes are from this average, the more distorted your view will be. Young children on the other hand have values that span between 40-55mm. So for them, their perspective through the GearVR could be so erroneous that the perceived display will be very incorrect and can cause (short term) disorientation, discomfort, headaches, migraines, eye-strain or even nausea. Because of this, we usually discourage young children from using HMDs unless they are using a properly calibrated device."
The notice also warns that some people may experience things like "motion sickness, nausea, disorientation, blurred vision, or other discomfort while viewing virtual reality content." If this happens, it is recommended that you stop using the headset right away and remove it from your head.
Sony also recommends that you consider your physical surroundings when using PlayStation VR. "Take steps to prevent pets, children, or other obstacles entering the area during use," reads a line.
This seems like a pretty big ask, really, as cats are known to do whatever they want, and children, too. Undoubtedly there will be videos of people wearing the headset and tripping over coffee tables and other furniture. Hopefully no one gets hurt.
PlayStation VR is officially scheduled to arrive in the first half of 2016, though a GameStop executive recently said the release date may be pushed to fall 2016. Sony will hold a PlayStation VR-focused event at the Game Developers Conference next week where we may finally learn the system's price and release date, though this is not confirmed at this point.