I'm known for my passion for novel methods to attract talent, especially those which involve moving pictures and sound.
Having said that, I have my limits.
I wanted to be impressed, but I was literally sickened to the pit of my stomach by the new approach to recruiting from the US air force and I want to explain why.
It's not the first time the military have been involved in using media in high-impact hiring.
The above picture is credited with success in mass recruiting efforts for WWI. Although recent doubt has been cast upon the true role this picture played, it is certainly one of the most famous, if not the first example of visual recruiting.
What the US Air Force have done has taken the use of multimedia it a step further.
What you will witness in the above video is real in game footage from a new Playstation VR title "Air Force Special Ops" which is a full on Virtual Reality game.
It's actually a major and unprecedented step in simulating a part of the "work" into a game experience.
Sony has launched Air Force Special Ops Nighfall for PlayStation VR, putting you in the role of a Special Ops member jumping from an actual plane!
Created in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force, players will do H.A.L.O. (High Altitude Low Opening) free fall jumps, being in control of the parachute during a night landing; and a subsequent simulated mission According to the Air Force, the game is a realistic looks at what it is like to be in Special Ops.
It is so realistic I could almost smell the airplane and feel the wind. In free-fall, play controls simulate movements to move around in the sky. After your parachute opens, you control your speed and direction to stay with your team. They added some fun with gates to fly through and enemy targets to identify. An anonymous military source was cited as saying, "It may be as realistic as you can get without actually jumping from a C-130."
If you play this experience, you may be as sickened as I was. This is nothing to do with the content but is a result of the nature of VR.
It’s a big problem. VR has a difficult quest to adopt into our live, it may turn away first time viewers, if they experience and connect nausea or sickness.
It’s hard for curious minds to return to a VR experience because your body associates the game with feeling unwell.
There are quite a lot of explanations what causes sickness. The most common issues are:
As I've written before, we have been consuming virtual media through rectangular flat screens for dozens of years and we have got accustomed to it. VR unshackles us from the rectangle, but it's not all good.
According to many theories, “Alteration of viewpoint for someone whose head remains static is an instant one-way ticket to nausea.”
Because VR tricks your brain to accept VR as a temporary reality, everything that doesn’t occur in “real reality” confuses the viewer. This sensory conflict states that dissonance between what your eyes see on screen and the kind of motion your body feels lead to disorientation and feelings of nausea.
Maybe you are one of those people who gets sick if I read in the car. It’s the same principle. You’re focusing on reading some classical literature, with visual system telling your brain you’re still but in fact the car driver is carving out big corners in a path up the Alps.
“The refresh rate of on-screen images is often not high enough when VR sickness occurs. Because the refresh rate (FPS - Frames Per Second) is slower than your brain processes, it causes dissonance between the processing rate and the refresh rate, which causes the you to perceive glitches on the screen.
When these two components do match up, it can cause the user to experience the same feelings as simulator and motion sickness which is mentioned below.” - Wikipedia
I sincerely hope that anyone considering making a VR simulation of their workplace to try and recruit talent takes a leaf out of the Job Simulator playbook, and not this game.