VR developer focused on creating immersive storytelling experiences. Follow me on Twitter: @VRHeavenNews
July 5th, 2020

This research was conducted by Winston Nguyen and Aaron Santiago. Contact us at hello@vrheaven.io for more information.

VR Motion Sickness Statistics – Insights From 300 Users

Motion sickness is a huge obstacle in the way of adoption, but just how prevalent is it? And how does it correlate with demographics such as age and gender?

We asked people about their VR experience and compiled results into the following report. Nearly 300 responses were recorded.

What Percentage of People Get VR Motion Sickness?

The survey showed that 57.8% of VR users have experienced VR motion sickness at least once.

  • 13.7% said they experienced it ‘frequently’
  • 19.1% experienced it ‘sometimes’ and
  • 24.9% experienced it ‘rarely.’

42.2% have never experienced VR sickness.

With nearly 60% of the population experiencing VR motion sickness, this is often an overlooked issue that’s hindering the adoption of virtual reality technology.

VR motion sickness statistics

Does Gender Play a Role in VR Motion Sickness?

The survey revealed a strong correlation between gender and VR motion sickness, with women experiencing VR motion sickness more frequently than men.

  • Over 3x the amount of women experience VR motion sickness ‘frequently’ than men (22.6% vs 7.2%)
  • 22.6% of women experience VR sickness ‘sometimes’ vs. 13.8% of men.
  • Meanwhile 29% of men answered “rarely” vs. 20.2% of women.
  • 50% of men have never experienced VR sickness vs. 34.7% of women

Some other research in the field suggests that in general, if you already experience motion sickness in real life, then you will be more likely to experience VR sickness. Many studies show that women are more prone to motion sickness in cars, boats, planes and vehicles in general.

A lot of papers out there agree that if you look at the data this way, then the gender bias disappears. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with VR headsets.

VR motion sickness statistics by gender part 2

The survey asked questions related to how often you get motion sickness in cars, boats, planes etc. in order to get a susceptibility score.

After taking into account susceptibility scores, it still shows that VR headsets cause more motion sickness in women than men. There are various reasons hypothesized for this including headset design and IPD mismatch. You can read more about it here.

Does age play a role in VR motion sickness?

VR motion sickness statistics by age

VR motion sickness statistics by age part 2

Younger people seem to be less susceptible to VR motion sickness than older people.

Does the headset type play a role in VR motion sickness?

VR motion sickness statistics by headset type

“Mobile Low-End” headsets such as the Samsung GearVR and Google Cardboards induce the most motion sickness. 

Meanwhile “Mobile High-End” VR headsets such as the Oculus Quest and Lenovo Mirage Solos rank the best even beating the “PC High-End” headsets such as the Valve Index. This could be because the high end PC headsets have greater FOV (Valve Index has 130° vs. 100° on the Quest), making them more likely to cause motion sickness.

Incredibly, PSVR headsets rank even lower than PC Low-End headsets like the old Oculus DK1 and Wal-Mart VR-Tek headsets. We think this is because the tracking system on PSVR headsets is less reliable than other systems.

Does the locomotion scheme play a role in VR motion sickness?

VR motion sickness statistics by locomotion scheme

Piloting vehicles seemed to be the biggest cause of motion sickness with 21.4% of people experiencing it ‘frequently’ vs. 14.0% of people who say they experience VR motion sickness frequently.

Can You Overcome VR Motion Sickness By Playing More?

Percentage of people who overcame VR motion sickness

A lot of VR enthusiasts talk about “VR legs,” the ability to grow resistant to VR motion sickness by exposing yourself to it. Our data seems to confirm it.

68% of people were able to overcome VR motion sickness over time. Though 32% of people not being able to overcome it is still a substantial amount.

Let’s see how these numbers look for men vs. women:

Growing VR Legs and Gender

Overcoming VR sickness statistics

Interestingly, men are more likely to overcome VR sickness than women.

This may or may not be due to a biological factor. It could simply be due to the fact that they are less likely to use VR consistently, or the degree of motion sickness they experience is more severe than men, making them less likely to develop their VR legs.

Data Collection Process

Our dataset consists of around 292 respondents with 145 males, 131 females and 15 ‘other’. 80% of the sample came from Reddit, while the other 20% came from Discord groups and family/friends on Facebook. 

When posting on Reddit, we specifically avoided posting on VR related subreddits to avoid skewing the data, as people who visit those subreddits are VR enthusiasts who aren’t as prone to motion sickness. We also offered a $50 gift card prize incentive for those who took the survey.

To be eligible to fill out the survey, respondents must have used VR before, but don’t need to own a headset. To calculate VR sickness scores, each of our respondents answers was given a numerical value. As a response to “Do you experience motion sickness in VR?” Never = 0, Rarely = 1, Sometimes = 2, and Frequently = 3. 

The same was done for our general motion sickness questions to calculate a motion sickness susceptibility score. The numbers were totalled for cars, boats, and airplanes, and then normalized to a range from 0 – 9. This means that if a respondent answered Frequently and Frequently for cars and boats, but had never been on airplanes, they would still score a 9.

This was based on the MSSQ-S that researchers use to determine motion sickness susceptibility. 

Summary of Data:

Based on our data…

  • How does gender factor into VR motion sickness?
    • Men are less prone to VR sickness than women. 
  • Does age factor into VR motion sickness?
    • It seems the older generation are more prone to motion sickness than younger generation.
  • Does the headset factor into VR motion sickness?
    • Yep, the headset type can influence motion sickness.
  • Does the locomotion scheme factor into VR motion sickness?
    • Sort-of. If you already experience motion sickness in VR, more intense locomotion schemes will make that worse.
  • Does experience factor into VR motion sickness?
    • Sort-of. If you can grow your VR legs, then you will be able to overcome motion sickness in VR! This only represents half of people who experience motion sickness, though.

Tips for overcoming VR sickness: https://vrheaven.io/vr-legs/

This research was conducted by Winston Nguyen and Aaron Santiago. Contact us at hello@vrheaven.io for more information.