VR Headset Blamed for Ocular Herpes Outbreak


A YouTuber causes a scare among virtual reality fans after posting an anonymous conversation that links an Ocular Herpes outbreak to those who have shared a VR headset.

Virtual reality fans recently received some good news when it was announced that the PlayStation VR outsold every other console on the market in Japan during its first week. Virtual reality hasn't quite completely taken the games industry by storm, due in large part to the high price of entry associated with other headsets like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but many industry watchers have said that Sony has a real opportunity with the more affordable PlayStation VR to get a lot more people interested in virtual reality. With the PlayStation VR also starting to pull in positive reviews following its launch two weeks ago, things appear to be going really well for Sony and VR fans in general right now.

So in other words, this is a really bad time for virtual reality to be associated with a major health scare. But that's exactly what is happening if a screenshot originally posted by YouTuber Drift0r is to be believed.

The Daily Dot reports that the screenshot features a conversation between two anonymous VR developers who are talking with each other about an ocular herpes outbreak among individuals who have been using VR headsets. It seems that the disease is being passed from gamer to gamer at places like trade shows and demo booths where multiple people share the same headset.

"Ocular Herpes is going around VR headsets, ones that are used to share with people," the first developer writes. "Game studio told us it's going around, have to clean headset regularly."


After some back and forth, another developer confirms the news, noting that ocular herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Ocular herpes causes inflammation and general discomfort, sometimes leading to cold sores but around the eye instead of the mouth, according to the Daily Dot.

It's worth noting that this is just one anecdotal claim and it's coming from anonymous developers. We don't even know which specific headset was being referenced in this conversation, but any gamer or member of the games media who has attended conventions like Penny Arcade's PAX or E3 will be the first to tell you about the dreaded "convention flu" that often afflicts multiple attendees in the days following the event. Coming into contact with a game controller that has been touched by hundreds or even thousands of other people has never been good for your health, and now it seems we're seeing an especially gross version of this same problem affect virtual reality headsets.

Hopefully, this news will catch the attention of developers who work such events and steps will be taken to ensure a sanitary gaming experience for all involved. Virtual reality still has a lot to prove considering that a lot of gamers still think VR is too expensive, so it's going to be critical for the industry as a whole to come together and make sure stories like this one don't become commonplace.

Source: Daily Dot

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