Remote and collaborative virtual reality experiments via social VR platforms

Illustration of the two user studies we replicated.
Depiction of the two user studies we replicated using VRChat, a social VR platform. The darker robots represent the avatars of the participants. The lighter robots represent the avatars of the researchers, observing the participants and collecting data. Left: In quantitative Study 1 — extending Fitts’ Law in 3D VR — a participant selects a target by moving the cursor to intersect it. Right: In qualitative Study 2 — a trial from the tabletop study from Tang et al. — two participants collaborate to find the best path between two nodes in a network

Virtual reality (VR) researchers struggle to conduct remote studies. Previous work has focused on working around limitations imposed by traditional crowdsourcing methods. However, the potential for leveraging social VR platforms for HCI evaluations is largely unexplored. These platforms have large VR-ready user populations, distributed synchronous virtual environments, and support for user-generated content. We demonstrate how social VR platforms can be used to practically and ethically produce valid research results by replicating two studies using one such platform (VRChat): a quantitative study on Fitts’ Law and a qualitative study on tabletop collaboration. Our replication studies exhibited analogous results to the originals, indicating the research validity of this approach. Moreover, we easily recruited experienced VR users with their own hardware for synchronous, remote, and collaborative participation. We further provide lessons learned for future researchers experimenting using social VR platforms. This paper and all supplemental materials are available at

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