Dimensions of shared VR

Suppose you are in a Virtual Reality experience together with some friends. This can mean many different things.

In our lab’s research, I find it useful to tease apart the different dimensions that characterize such an experience.

One such dimension is that of collocality. Are you physically in the same place as your friends, or are you only virtually co-present? By analogy, having dinner with a friend is an example of collocality. Talking on the phone with that same friend is an example of non-collocality.

A second dimension is that of agency. Are you able to modify the outcome of the experience, or are you merely a passive observer? By analogy, playing a game is an example of having agency. Watching a movie is an example of not having agency.

A third dimension is that of liveness. Are you experiencing a performance that was already created, or are you witnessing a story that is literally being performed as you watch, by a fellow human being. Generally speaking, a social experience (such as a conversation with a friend) is live, whereas a movie is not.

The above three dimensions describe a kind of abstract cube. We have been having fun placing various kinds of experiences within this cube, and understanding the possibilities of VR from that perspective.

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