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


DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG
Dundee, Scotland: Digital Games Research Association and Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games, August, 2016
Number: 1
Volume: 13
ISBN / ISNN: ISSN 2342-9666

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.