Working in VR is terrible in almost every way

Listening to Mark Zuckerberg one might be under the impression that we’ll all be working in a virtual reality space very soon. The reality, however, is that Zuckerberg and pals need to build a lot of tech and perhaps the most important thing that needs refining is the headset.

Despite years of iterative updates, a VR headset is still a load of high-power tech and displays that need to be strapped to your head. But how bad is it to work under these conditions?

That was one of the answers a group of researchers at Coburg University, University of Primorska and Microsoft Research set out to find.

The study saw 18 participants spending a 40-hour work week exclusively in VR. Participants used a Meta Quest 2, Logitech K830 keyboard and connected to a work computer via a browser or Chrome Remote Desktop.

So how well did things go? Well the 16 participants all reported degraded experiences across the board. What’s that? We said 18 earlier? That’s right, two participants dropped out just before the study began complaining of migraines, nausea and anxiety. Not a great start then.

As reported by PC World, participants reported:

  • 35 percent increase in work task load in VR;
  • 42 percent more frustration in VR;
  • 16 percent lower productivity in VR;
  • 20 percent lower well being in VR.

Now, it’s not all bad. Participants said that working in VR could be feasible if there were several improvements. For one headsets need to be more comfortable, offer higher refresh rates and higher resolution displays. Despite this, participants also noted that using VR for shorter periods of time lead to a better experience but this is likely due to the way VR is available today. However, some participants did report that working the metaverse was rather lonely.

While the researchers hope that this encourages further studies into working within a metaverse, this study has solidified many of the misgivings we had about the metaverse from the off. Yes, working from home can get lonely but strapping a VR headset to your face so you can greet a colleague’s avatar, isn’t the solution.

Perhaps, instead of investing in something nobody but Zuckerberg wants isn’t the best idea. How about we invest in stimulating employment and job creation instead?


[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]




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