A new Guinness world record for watching virtual reality video has been set as two men used a pair of Oculus Rift headsets for 50 hours straight over the Easter weekend.
US app developers Alex Christison, 37, and Alejandro Fragoso, 26, binge-watched VR video from 8:45am on 15 April until 10:45am on 17 April. They were allowed just a five-minute break every hour to eat, drink and use the bathroom – a rule set by Guinness World Records, which oversaw the attempt.
Apart from staying awake for two full days and nights, the pair said the biggest challenge was dealing with the isolation of being stuck in a virtual world for so long.
This was the first Guinness-certified world record to be set involving watching video in VR, although a separate record was set in January 2017 when a British man played VR games non-stop (apart from the same five-minute break rule) for 25 hours and 24 minutes.
An unofficial VR video game binge record stands at 48 hours, set by a German player in 2016.
To comply with Guinness rules, the pair were required to have two witnesses watching them at all times; the witnesses rotated in four-hour shifts to make sure Christison and Fragoso didn't fall asleep. Eye-monitoring software and cameras were used to check they didn't drift off with their eyes covered by the VR headsets.
The pair fought off the need for sleep with a steady supply of Red Bull, coffee, smoothies and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Some of the five-minute breaks were used to take quick showers and walk outside for fresh air. A doctor checked the two men before and after the VR marathon and said neither showed signs of nausea and vertigo, both often linked to using VR for extended periods of time.
To set the latest record, Christison and Fragoso watched back-to-back VR films and 360-degree short movies, such as Rogue One: Recon – A Star Wars 360 Experience and Kong VR: Destination Skull Island. Much of the VR content was streamed from YouTube, while films, which appear on a curved screen in front of the VR wearer but are not immersive, included Superbad, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Hot Fuzz.
When asked what his favourite VR content was, Christison told Variety: "It's all kind of a blur right now," before adding that his least favourite was a short film called Mortal Kombat. "It just wasn't done well," he said.
Fragoso is no stranger to binge-watching, as in 2016 he set a Guinness record for watching television for 94 hours.