It’s no shock that horror experiences are the top genre for content developers creating virtual reality experiences.
Immersing people into this sort of content allows developers to really toy with emotions unlike any other storytelling medium.
That said, creating suspenseful, thrilling moments in a virtual reality experience can create a level of panic for users that they simply weren’t expecting.
One such tool is the “jump scare” and is defined on Wikipedia as follows:
“A jump scare is a technique often used in horror films and video games, intended to scare the audience by surprising them with an abrupt change in image or event, usually co-occurring with a loud, frightening sound. The jump scare has been described as “one of the most basic building blocks of horror movies”. Jump scares can surprise the viewer by appearing at a point in the film where the soundtrack is quiet and the viewer is not expecting anything alarming to happen, or can be the sudden payoff to a long period of suspense.
Some critics have described jump scares as a lazy way to frighten viewers, and believe that the horror genre has undergone a decline in recent years following an over-reliance on the trope.”
During a recent AMA on Reddit with Palmer Luckey, the Oculus founder states,
“…We are strongly discouraging developers from using jump scares. They are such a cheap way to get a reaction in VR.”
Although Oculus has vowed to prevent “jump scares” from their experiences, there is no official word from HTC or Playstation on allowing such content.