What is VR motion sickness, how to fight it?

Updated on
What is VR motion sickness, how to fight it?

Train your brain to overcome motion sickness

Many people feel a distinct dizziness when they first encounter VR. This is because in VR your eyes observe that you appear to be moving, but in reality, you are just standing still. This causes your brain to generate false information, which imbalances your body's systems and causes a feeling of vertigo in the same way that sitting in a car or an airplane. 

We've previously provided some solutions related to motion sickness (further reading below), including setting the correct IPD (which can be automatically and precisely adjusted with Crystal's eye-tracking feature), increasing the frame rate (above 60fps), moving your body steadily, blowing on a fan, and taking proper breaks, etc. As a motion sickness sufferer, these methods work for me, but they don't completely solve my inability to play VR for long periods of time. Until I saw what looked like a promising approach from YouTube user @SargonDragon, and decided to give it a try.

Here is what the method is:

The first thing we need to do to overcome motion sickness is to shorten the session. This time is before you feel like you're going to develop vertigo, and no matter how short this time is, you must stop playing VR before you feel sick. Your body's response time to symptoms will remain consistent, if you are starting to feel dizzy at 7 minutes, then you should stop at 5-6 minutes. If it's only 30 seconds, then stay in VR for 20 seconds at a time, no matter how short it is. You must also take long breaks between sessions. 

This is done to make your brain cognizant of the fact that the VR world you're in is virtual and not real and that your body doesn't move with the perspective. Therefore, we must train the brain to think that what we are doing is normal. In every VR session where we managed to get rid of the sickness, we reminded the brain that VR is safe and does not cause any trouble. With many successful sessions, the amount of time you can tolerate will get longer and longer. Finally, you would overcome the whole motion sickness and enjoy any VR game freely.

@SargonDrago verified this method himself, and according to him, he too had severe motion sickness at the beginning and felt dizziness after just a few minutes of the session. But after 1 or 2 weeks his session time changed to over an hour, and after a month he was free of motion sickness. Also, he said that everyone he knew who used the method eventually got rid of their motion sickness.

My Thoughts:

As someone who suffers from motion sickness, I think this method is worth trying. It has a basis in theory and a practical plan to implement, and there have been some successful cases. When I started I could only do 5 minutes, now I can do 15 minutes without a problem. Using this method, along with the tips we mentioned in the previous post, will allow more people to go and freely experience the fun that VR gaming has to offer.

Further Reading

Motion sickness, in short:

When you play a VR game, your vision sees things that aren’t real. You may be flying through the valleys of an outer planet, or racing on a circuit elsewhere in the world. Plus these are super realistic experiences as well. As such, your brain sees things your body isn’t actually experiencing, leading to motion sickness. 

So what is motion sickness in Virtual Reality?

VR motion sickness, also known as simulator sickness or virtual reality sickness, refers to the feeling of nausea, discomfort, and dizziness that some individuals experience when using virtual reality (VR) technology. It occurs when there is a discrepancy between the visual information received through the VR headset and the body's physical movements or sensory inputs, leading to a sensory conflict.

The main cause of VR motion sickness is a mismatch between what the eyes see in the virtual environment and what the body feels in terms of motion and balance. When the visual cues suggest movement or acceleration that is not synchronized with the body's actual movement or when there are rapid camera movements in the VR experience, it can disrupt the brain's sensory processing, leading to the symptoms of motion sickness.

Symptoms of motion sickness

What will l feel if I have motion sickness? The symptoms of VR motion sickness can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:

  1. Nausea: Feeling queasy, unsettled, or an urge to vomit.
  2. Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded, unsteady, or experiencing a spinning sensation.
  3. Sweating: Increased perspiration or clamminess.
  4. Headache: A dull or throbbing sensation in the head.
  5. Fatigue: Feeling tired or drained.
  6. Eye strain: Straining of the eyes, discomfort, or visual discomfort.
  7. Disorientation: Feeling confused or disoriented, especially when removing the VR headset.
  8. General discomfort: A sense of unease or discomfort while using VR.

What causes VR motion sickness?

The susceptibility to VR motion sickness varies among individuals, with some people being simply more prone to it than others. VR motion sickness can vary in intensity and duration, with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort, nausea, and dizziness to more extreme cases of vomiting and disorientation. 

Since low frame rate, high latency, and general vision blur can increase the amount of motion sickness, VR hardware manufacturers such as Pimax are always continually working on minimizing VR motion sickness through various techniques, such as optimizing frame rates, reducing latency, and implementing comfort settings. Game developers can also use alternative movement methods like teleportation, as this decreases motion sickness in VR. Additionally, users can employ strategies like gradually increasing VR exposure, taking breaks, and adjusting VR settings to mitigate the effects of motion sickness.

To avoid nausea during VR games, here are a few tips:

  1. Take it easy, build up gradually

Start with short play sessions and gradually increase the time as you get used to the VR experience. Don't force yourself to play too long if you start to feel nauseous. So also take regular breaks: If you find yourself getting nauseous, take a break and rest. This helps your body to recover and can reduce nausea.

  1. Stability and freedom of movement

Make sure you have a firm and stable position while playing VR games. Avoid too much movement and twisting while you play, especially if you are prone to nausea. You can also try VR in a seated position, especially suitable for flight and racing sims.

  1. Get a good VR setting

 Make sure the VR glasses are properly adjusted to your eyes. Incorrect IPD adjustment can contribute to nausea. Also, make sure they’re clean and you can find the tips to keep the lenses clean! Furthermore, try to have at least an FPS of 60 to prevent motion sickness. 

  1. Use games with smooth movement

Some VR games use teleportation or other techniques to simulate movement without causing nausea. Try playing games that use these types of motion instead of fast and fluid camera movements. If you’re doing a racing sims or flight sim, you may also have less motion sickness because you’re still ‘inside’ the plane or car inside the game.

  1. Use a fan pointing at you while you play

This was covered in our top 5 VR tips. You may not see the fan, but you will feel the wind coming from it. This helps combat motion sickness for many people.

  1. Watch where you’re going

If you’re for instance playing a racing sim, keep looking at where you’re doing, for instance, the apex of the corner. Don’t spend too much time looking at the surroundings or looking sideways. 


Some other articles have also suggested chewing gum or eating ginger. Keep in mind that not all people have the same sensitivity to VR nausea, so you may need to try different strategies to find what works best for you. 

More tips here: Top 5 VR Tips and Tricks

Updated on