Gaming in Virtual Reality: What Changes in Terms of Usability, Emotional Response and Sense of Presence Compared to Non-Immersive Video Games?
Background.Virtual reality can provide innovative gaming experiences for present and future game players. However, scientific knowledge is still limited about differences between player’s experience in video games played in immersive modalities and games played in non-immersive modalities (i.e., on a desktop display).
Materials and method. Smash Hit was played by 24 young adults in immersive (virtual reality) and non-immersive (desktop) condition. Self-report questionnaires (VAS-A, VAS-HP, VAS-SP, SUS, SUS-II) and psycho-physiological measures (heart rate and skin conductance) were used to assess usability, emotional response and the reported sense of presence.
Results. No statistical differences emerged between the immersive and the non-immersive condition regarding usability and performance scores. The general linear model for repeated measures conducted on VAS-A, VAS-HP, VAS-SP scores for the virtual reality condition supported the idea that playing in the immersive display modality was associated with higher self-reported happiness and surprise; analysis on SUS-II revealed that the perceived sense of presence was higher in the virtual reality condition
Discussion and conclusion. The proposed study provides evidence that (a) playing a video game in virtual reality was not more difficult than playing through a desktop display; (b) players showed a more intense emotional response, as assessed by self-report questionnaires and with psycho-physiological indexes (heart rate and skin conductance), after playing in virtual reality versus after playing through the desktop display; (c) the perceived sense of presence was found to be greater in virtual reality as opposed to the non-immersive condition.