Virtual reality, also known as VR, is an artificial, immersive environment created using computer technology and sensory stimuli (such as sight and audio). In layman’s terms, it allows a person to interact with an artificial three-dimensional environment or a sensory environment in which the user’s physical movements and motions reflect or stimulate the environment on the screen or device that they are using.
According to a recent study, realism is a key factor in determining whether viewers engage with virtual reality (VR) videos and engagement is a key factor in determining whether viewers want to watch VR videos in the future.
The researchers focused on VR videos that offer a 360-degree view of a given scene that viewers can navigate on conventional video screens; VR headsets were not required.
Our study is the first to identify that realism in these videos is a key variable in driving viewer engagement. And the more engaged viewers were, the more likely they were to want to view additional VR videos in the future.Yang Cheng
Researchers surveyed 1,422 study participants in the United States, all of whom had prior experience with virtual reality videos, for the study. Participants were asked a series of questions designed to elicit information about what drew them to VR videos as well as what aspects of the videos increased viewer engagement.
You’ve probably played VR games or seen a movie in an IMAX theater where they give you headgear/set, goggles, gloves, or suits that allow you to feel, see, or teleport yourself in a virtual world. VR creates or stimulates an immersive environment by extending the human sensory system and the basic rules of perception. VR headset or gear is the most essential component that replaces the surroundings and stimuli with the artificial or virtual world created in software.
“We discovered two aspects of virtual reality videos that were the most powerful predictors of whether viewers enjoyed VR videos and engaged with their content,” says Yang Cheng, the study’s first author and an associate professor of communication at North Carolina State University.
“Specifically, we discovered that realism and enjoyment were the key variables here.” Another factor that influenced user engagement was whether the VR videos were part of an interactive platform that allowed users to build a sense of community.
“Our study is the first to identify that realism in these videos is a key variable in driving viewer engagement,” Cheng says. “And the more engaged viewers were, the more likely they were to want to view additional VR videos in the future.”
The researchers note that their findings can be used by video developers to improve user engagement and encourage continued use of immersive videos.