Moscow Gamer Dies Playing VR [UPDATED]

A gamer in Moscow suffered an unfortunate incident while playing VR.

Virtual reality (VR) has near incomprehensible potential to benefit humanity in all manner of different areas, including education, infrastructure, healthcare and more. However, alongside that comes a number of caveats, and unfortunately one of those is a great need for real-world situational awareness while effectively blinded.

Oculus Rift consumer version

Entertainment is leading the charge for bringing VR to the mainstream, and that in itself is being lead by videogames. The adoption rate of consumer VR hardware has undoubtedly been driven by the early adopters amongst the videogame community, and as such it’s that exact same community that will raise awareness of all the strengths and weaknesses within the medium.

Today, one of those weaknesses has came to light, as a Moscow resident has suffered fatal wounds while moving around his apartment during the use of a VR head-mounted display (HMD). According to Tass, a Russian news outlet, the incident was reported to the media by Senior Assistant to the Head of the Russian Investigative Committee’s Main Moscow Department, Yulia Ivanova.

According to Ivanova, the 44-year-old man’s body was found yesterday, 21st December 2017, in his home on Marshal Zhukov Avenue.

“According to preliminary information, while moving around the apartment in virtual reality glasses, the man tripped and crashed into a glass table, suffered wounds and died on the spot from a loss of blood,” Ivanova said.

A probe has been launched into this incident in order to establish all the details, however the man has yet to be named and no further details are currently available.

HTC Vive hardware render

The strength of VR as a medium to inspire, inform and educate is unquestionable. However, the tabloid hype concerning loss of life through inability to distinguish reality from the fiction of a VR experience is undeniably over hyped with the limited possibilities of current hardware. Instead, it’s the real world constraints of tethered cables, limited vision and space requirements that gamers and VR adopters need to be most cautious about.

With a wealth of new adopters expected to join the VR community this holiday season, VRFocus wishes to express concern that appropriate safety measures should be taken prior to enjoying the depths of any new VR experiences you might be anticipating.

UPDATE: According to Lenta.ru, the man’s mother found the dead gamer on Thursday, 21st December 2017. A source in law enforcement told the website that the man was playing a Star Wars VR experience, and that a medical examiner believes his life could have been saved if he hadn’t continued playing the videogame and instead sought medical attention.

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