The Impact of Co-Located Play on Social Presence and Game Experience in Virtual Reality Games
Marcello Gómez Maureira
As virtual reality (VR) in digital games is making a return, this explorative study looks at the scenario of VR gaming in a social setting. The question is raised whether physical proximity during gameplay - co-located play - has an impact on game experience and social presence when compared to playing from separated locations. To answer this question, we asked 17 pairs of participants (N=34) with prior social connection to each other to play a two-player VR game using head mounted displays (HMDs). Two conditions were tested and compared to each other: playing in the same room, and playing in separated rooms. During the game, players would interact with each other in a shared virtual environment, and by talking to each other either directly (same room) or via an intercom (different rooms). Our results indicate that there is no difference between testing conditions. We conclude that current VR technology can facilitate a multi-user game experience over large distances that is experienced the same way as if it were played co-located.
Marcello Gómez Maureira, "The Impact of Co-Located Play on Social Presence and Game Experience in Virtual Reality Games", Master's Thesis for the Media Technology programme, Leiden University (The Netherlands), 2015