Study Suggests iPad Gaming Makes People Feel Like Throwing Up

Study Suggests iPad Gaming Makes People Feel Like Throwing Up

Researchers at the University of Minnesota say they’ve found a link between motion sickness and iPad gaming. The fact they played Gameloft’s Call of Duty clone, Modern Combat is delightful to me, but the game itself isn’t what makes people queasy. It’s how games are played on the tablet in general.

In the study, half of the participants (average age 21) played the game using tilt controls — that is, manually moving the iPad. The other half played it with touch controls. Those who used touch controls — that is with the iPad itself motionless — were five times as likely as the tilt controllers to feel sick, the study found.

Now, overall, 11 people out of a study group of 36. They played for up to 40 minutes, in a controlled lab environment. So not everyone gets motion sick using a mobile device like an iPad, but if they do, then playing on an immobile screen is probably what’s behind it.

Taken with two other studies done by the same Minnesota laboratory, it seems to support the idea that when someone is not in control of their locomotion, they’re more likely to become motion sick.

In 2011, Thomas Stoffregen, director of Minnesota’s Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory, used an Xbox 360 and driving games to study why a driver is less likely to get carsick than a passenger. In 2012 he used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to study motion sickness in walking, with someone “driving” the first person avatar and others watching a recording of its movement. “Turns out, like in our new study, the difference in getting sick or not is about being in control of your locomotion,” Stoffregen said.

The study is published in an article appearing in the journal Experimental Brain Research.

New research links iPads to motion sickness [University of Minnesota]


    • I don’t know about that…
      I can’t play games like Mirrors Edge for longer periods of time due to motion sickness.
      same with Portal 2 (unfortunately)
      and Spec Ops The Line did something very similar to me…
      Every other FPS i’ve ever played hasn’t done this, but those have…
      and yes, that’s on PC.

      • I think you’ll find that’s more to do with all those games having a low field of view. A lot of people suffer from dizziness and motion sickness in certain FPS games, and most of the time this is the issue. I’ve had similar issues with all of the above games, along with several others such as Dead Island and Borderlands.

        Luckily in most modern AAA fps you have access to a FoV slider to adjust things to something more comfortable, but in some cases you may have to go into the game files and adjust it manually.

        • Hmm that might be true actually, hadn’t though of that…. i blamed Mirrors edge for it’s bopping camera more then anything 😛
          I might give it a try, thanks for the suggestion 🙂

          • No probs. I really hope it helps.

            Field of view is one of those odd things in first person shooters. You know a particular game feels weird and it’s making you sick, but you can’t put your finger on why. When Mirror’s Edge first came out I tried several times to finish it, but I just couldn’t. Every time I’d play for a short while before I started to feel really dizzy and then completely sick if I continued on. I honestly had no idea field of view was even a thing until someone pointed it out in an article a while back, and it all suddenly made sense.

            Have a fiddle with it and see if it does anything for your experience.

    • The headline is a bit misleading. Rather than comparing iPads to other methods of playing games, it seemed to be comparing the effects of two different control mechanisms using the same hardware. It doesn’t sound like it has anything to say about PC games.

      That said, you don’t have to look hard to find research that does cover PC games …

    • Motion sickness is a big issue for me. I need a good smooth framerate, no lag between mouse and screen movement, a wide enough FOV and no bloody head bobbing. I have had to quit games I would have otherwise played because they did not allow you to turn off the damn head bobbing.

      I will start to feel a bit green after several minutes on a game that gives me motion sickness and be unable to continue after maybe 30-45 minutes. Nowadays I just stop if I start feeling the initial sensation.

  • It the micro transactions that make me feel a little sick…………..or more accurately my wife’s love of micro transactions make me a little sick………

  • That sounds horrible. I hope that I never get motion sickness from gaming, but if I do please, please, please, put me out of my misery as quickly and humanely as possible. T_T I don’t think I could live a life devoid of gaming…

  • Yet when they initially released iOS 7, a lot of people were getting motion sickness from the parallax wallpapers which move when you move the iPad. So I’m a little skeptical that it’s being in control of your locomotion that’s the sole factor for motion sickness reduction.

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