The Impact of Co-Located Play on Social Presence and Game Experience in a VR Game

Gómez Maureira Marcello A. Verbeek Fons
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

This exploratory case study looks at the scenario of virtual reality (VR) gaming in a social setting. We raise the question whether game experience and social presence (measured through a questionnaire) are impacted by physically separating players versus co-located play. We asked 34 participants to play a two-player VR game using head mounted displays in which they shared a virtual environment. We compared two conditions: 1) playing in the same physical space, allowing direct communication between players and 2) playing in separated rooms, with communication via intercom. Our results indicate no differences between the two testing conditions. Based on this, we conclude that current VR technology can facilitate a multi-user game experience, played from separate locations, that is experienced as if it were played co-located. We see the outcome of the study as an encouragement for designers to involve social elements in online, multi-user VR games.