Compensation for VR player's real-life injury
A woman who confused the virtual world with reality and injured herself while playing a virtual reality (VR) game has been awarded more than 5,200 yuan (US$740) in compensation, Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled on Monday.
During the game, she stretched out her arms and jumped "from a high altitude,” which made her fall to the ground in reality and injure her jaw.
According to the court, the woman, surnamed Zhou, went to a local VR gaming house in Xuhui District with her friend on August 19 last year. Zhou told the clerk it was the first time she had tried a VR game and asked for a recommendation. The clerk suggested a bungee jumping game.
At one point the game required the player, who was wearing a headset, to "take an elevator" to the top floor of a building. When the elevator doors opened, there was a long wooden board in the air. The player had to walk to the end of the board and jump from it.
However, when Zhou was trying to jump, she fell to the ground, causing her jaw to bleed. Staff sent her to hospital.
When the two sides failed to reach an agreement over compensation, Zhou took the gaming house to court. Zhou demanded compensation of more than 16,000 yuan for medical treatment, transport, nursing and mental suffering.
The gaming house denied liability for Zhou's injury but still offered to pay her over 3,700 yuan in compensation.
The court said there was no evidence to prove the gaming house was at fault, rejecting Zhou's demand and agreeing on the gaming house's offer of 3,700-yuan.
Zhou then appealed to the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court.
It said VR games, which formed a lifelike environment for the player, should be distinguished from common video games. The player will be immersed in a virtual environment and separated from reality. So the service provider should guarantee the player's security during the game.
In addition, recordings and photos showed that the gaming house hadn't placed a mat in the area and failed to stop Zhou's friend from getting in when Zhou was playing the game. So the court ruled the gaming house responsible for Zhou's injury.