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3d head mounted displays in violent games. One abstraction too close?

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I saw this article on Engadget about the Sony 3d headset earlier and I immediately thought about it's application in gaming. To be fully immersed in a game like Modern Warfare would be amazing. You would have surround sound (hopefully) and be able to see everything that is going on around you.

My only worry about this, as video game graphics get more and more realistic is the potential psychological impact this degree of realism could have on gamers. After a serious gaming session I certainly find it hard to sleep sometimes and the sound of gun fire can be ringing in my ears for hours! Being able to stab someone with extreme realism and with so many senses being catered for I'm not sure how I would feel. In my case, being a sensible adult with no urge to stab most real people I think it would be overall a good experience still.. until the realism was hiked up even further. Would I still want to play it? I'm not so sure.

With parents utter inability to stop buying these type of games for their children (illegal or not) I wonder what lasting effects it would have on the next generation? A 7 year old boy being completely immersed in a war game for several hours a day can only be a bad thing surely?

On a different note I thought about the potential such devices could have in my profession (software development) to be in some sort of Matrix like environment similar to gate keepers of Zion would be amazing. With the help of some sort of special gloves, the ability to construct program logic by hand would be excellent. Even with this, I wonder what the long term effect from working in this environment for 8hrs a day would have to me. As I often code at home for fun as well and game it could potentially be from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. That's a slightly more scary thought.

This type of immersive technology is fantastic and I can't wait, but several ethical questions must be asked when it finally comes.

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