The Psychology of VR Gaming
Being inside an alternative world can be exciting, relaxing, and give you a feeling of escapism. Some say that VR Gaming is beneficial to mental health, especially when people feel cooped up in their small spaces or feel isolated from their peers.
Virtual Reality games were developed by a bunch of forward-thinkers who wanted to bring to life the Holodeck concept we grew up watching on the Star Trek television series. Ever since Captain Kirk, Spock, and the crew explored the Universe’s far reaches, their Holodeck was their VR portal that would allow them to “Beam me up, Scotty.” This futuristic TV show fired up the imaginations of every viewer. Many would grow up to develop Virtual Reality games that made us feel closer to living in an alternative world.
Funny thing, though, is that there are therapeutic benefits to playing VR games. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality gaming help players manage their anxiety. VR gaming does this by immersing the patient in a safe environment that allows them to simulate their triggered reactions and overcome them. It is pretty exciting to see more therapy professionals use VR games to give the patient a simulated experience that can be used to diagnose and treat psychological conditions that cause difficulties for patients.
There is a VR software called Limbix that produces virtual reality software that provides relapse prevention for substance abuse and teaches mindfulness and relaxation. Some of the anxiety disorders this VR software treats include:
- Substance Use Disorders
Because VR gaming and software creates a controlled stimulus environment that appears real but isn’t, the patients feel more comfortable facing situations that elevate their heart rate and rapid breathing.
We have also seen a remarkable project where a mother who lost her young child could reunite with her daughter through a VR headset. The experience is so moving that you can feel the simultaneous joy and anguish that the mother experiences, seeing her dead child speak and move like she is living again. Grab the hankies, for this video is worth the watch.
At Holon Studios, though the VR games we are developing are not therapy-specific, we find that the alternative world we create allows them to feel more confident, more powerful, and adventurous. There are many benefits to VR gaming, and the Holon Studios team is excited to be part of a growing industry. Cheers to VR gaming and the upswing it is trending for recreation and relaxation when people want to escape reality for a short time.