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Effects of Avatar Appearance and Locomotion on Co-Presence in Virtual Reality Collaborations

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In this paper we share the results of a user study designed to investigate the impact of locomotion techniques and avatar appearances in multi-user virtual reality (VR) settings. In our study we compared continuous joystick-based and non-continuous teleportation-based locomotion with regards to the observer’s perceived co-presence, cybersickness, fairness and enjoyment in a competitive game environment. Likewise, we compared the effects of humanoid and abstract avatar appearances. The results revealed significant effects of the locomotion type on perceived co-presence and subjective fairness, such that continuous locomotion yielded significantly higher perceived co-presence and fairness. However, there were no significant differences between the avatar appearances except for a weak positive effect of realistic avatars on mutual awareness. These findings suggest that a greater emphasis should be put on the visual representation of teleportation-based navigation in multi-user VR, for instance, by animating positional transitions. They further suggest that a distinction for the effect of avatar appearance has to be made based on the context of the multi-user VR application. While previous work showed a positive effect of realistic avatars on co-presence during cooperative tasks, we found no such effect in a competitive setting.


Freiwald, Jann Philipp; Schenke, Julius; Lehmann-Willenbrock, Nale; Steinicke, Frank (2021): Effects of Avatar Appearance and Locomotion on Co-Presence in Virtual Reality Collaborations. Mensch und Computer 2021 - Tagungsband. DOI: 10.1145/3473856.3473870. New York: ACM. pp. 420-428. MCI-SE06. Ingolstadt. 5.-8.. September 2021