No PlayStation VR for kids, says Sony

Grown ups get all the fun. No, seriously, they do. A safety notice as part of the PS4 3.5 beta firmware update uncovered by KGrizzly on Reddit (opens in new tab) states clearly that the PlayStation VR headset is "not for use by children under age 12." This adds to the precedent already set by Oculus and Gear VR which already has a 13 and up safety guide.

But why is this? I've done some digging and VR simulation specialist kumoishibo on Reddit (opens in new tab) has a nice clear explanation. They work with Gear VR on a regular basis and say that "The biggest issue when dealing with children and any Head Mounted Display (HMD), is to take into consideration the Interpupillary distance (IPD)." Simply put, IPD is the distance between the centre 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," explains kumoishibo. "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."

Basically this means that PlayStation VR, just like Oculus and Gear VR, doesn't have a set up that can accommodate much smaller IPDs. This is sure to cause some problems at retail as parents want to buy the latest tech for their children but it's a really clear message that it's just not going to be a healthy activity. As VR is very much in its infancy, it'll be really interesting to see if this changes and headsets for younger eyeballs are made available. Until then we're expecting a price and release date for PlayStation VR (opens in new tab) at next week's Sony GDC event.

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Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode.