Could you handle two full days in a VR world? In a publicity stunt that captured the Guinness World Records title for “Longest marathon watching virtual reality (VR) video content,” a couple of guys from Brooklyn spent 50 hours consuming virtual reality content using PowerDVD 17 from Cyberlink.
The 50-hour marathon more than doubles the prior VR immersion record, although that one was unofficial (i.e. not recognized by Guinness). The previous “record” was held by a Berlin, Germany-based gamer who spent 48 continuous hours gaming in a VR world. The Cyberlink stunt establishes the first Guinness entry for this sort of record.
According to the press release, Alejandro “AJ” Fragoso and Alex Christison “hardly even felt nauseous.” Good to hear!
The record-breaking VR rig consisted of VR-ready laptop computers provided by Intel, equipped with Oculus Rift headsets and running PowerDVD. The content the Brooklyn duo consumed in order to break the record included “Stranger Things | Virtual Reality / 360 Experience,” “KONG VR: Destination Skull Island,” and “INVASION!” from Baobab Studios.
Alejandro is no stranger to breaking Guinness records for watching stuff using CyberLink software. Last year, he watched TV for 94 hours nonstop, earning him the “Longest Marathon Watching Television” title.
“The VR headset added a new twist to the previous challenge; I felt cut off from the real world and the passage of time. It’s a surreal experience,” said Fragoso. “PowerDVD 17’s VR mode was like walking into my own personal, big screen theater. I could look around the virtual environment and soak in the seemingly huge movie screen. This is how everyone should watch movies–there is no comparison!”
Alec Christison’s VR portfolio includes helping CyberLink capture a 360-degree first-person experience of the New York Marathon. He noted that the marathon was not exactly easy, but he had plenty of praise for PowerDVD.
“I had no idea just how difficult it would be to complete this VR movie marathon,” said Christison. “Being completely immersed for such a long time was a huge mental strain. It was also physically demanding but an incredibly forward-looking experience. I was shocked by how PowerDVD 17 can seamlessly playback any type of VR content… It’s like your own personal IMAX theater!”
While I refer to the breaking of the Guinness record as a stunt, it may very well serve a practical purpose as well. Both before and after the marathon attempt, Dr. Robert Glatter, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, performed physical checkups on the participants. He found that both participants experienced elevated heart rates after extended sleeplessness, and “neurological side-effects such as an increased frequency of involuntary open-eyed ‘micro-naps,’ plus acute hallucinations.”
“This challenge offered by CyberLink was a fascinating opportunity to review the effects of prolonged immersion in VR on someone’s health,” said Dr. Glatter. “There has been a lot of speculation about the impact of VR on a person’s health, but there are few studies that have examined its effects in a controlled environment. Both AJ and Alex put themselves through an incredible test of endurance, pushing their bodies to the limit with impressive results.”
So there you have it folks, the bar has been set. Two days and two hours in a VR world is the record. I’m sure someone, somewhere is already planning on breaking it.