When I talk about virtual reality or the metaverse, there are always people that ask me about its intrinsic risks of escapism and addiction: “Is it possible that people will prefer to live in a virtual world instead of the real one?” is a very common question I hear. It’s an intriguing theme about which I have heard different opinions and answers, and I’m always eager to know more because I want to have a complete picture of the situation. I care about having a VR ecosystem that is healthyso of course, I want to know more about its intrinsic risks because only knowing the real risks we may investigate how to solve them.
That’s why when I saw a tweet from “Mister President” Alvin Wang Graylin about a study that HTC conducted about XR addiction together with a Chinese University, I was intrigued by the results. In the graphs shared in the tweet, it was possible to read that “VR gaming addiction tendency is 44% bigger than the one related to PC gaming”and while the test group was pretty small (20 people), the data extracted from the study was pretty detailed, and also highlighted how this “VR addiction” has different characteristics among men and women.
I immediately asked for an interview with professor Chen (the head of the research study) because I think that it’s important that we all in the community talk about not only the good, but also the possible bad outcomes of VR so that we can find together a solution. In the remainder of this article, you can find my full interview with prof. Chen, together with the graphs from HTC and the Communication University of China that show their findings.