"We found that people who had little or no experience playing video games had reduced cyberspace if they received this improved narrative, but the usual video games didn't need it because they were not predisposed to feel symptoms," said Seamas Weech of the University of Waterloo in Canada.
"What it tells us is that the actual design of the virtual reality simulation story itself can reduce the negative impact that some people experience with virtual reality technology," Weech said.
The researchers recruited 42 university participants, then 156 at a new media technology exhibition in Kitchener, Ontario, and made them experience virtual reality.
Before entering the simulation, participants listened to a story about what they were about to experience, but half were given basic details, and the other half were given an improved narrative, which included emotionally evocative details.
All participants who heard the enhanced story reported significantly more "presence,quot; in virtual reality, the feeling of being there, but only non-players experienced a reduction in cyberspace.
"Enriched narratives seem to improve the presence and reduce cyberspace due to the decrease in focus on problems with multiple entrances to their senses," said Michael Barnett-Cowan, a member of the Waterloo Games Institute.
"The really amazing thing is that we saw the benefits of rich stories in a sample of people from 8 to 60 years old. This brings us closer to an inclusive way to improve virtual reality experiences through game design," Sophie said. Kenny, a postdoctoral researcher at the Games Institute.