Perspective-Taking of Non-Player Characters in Prosocial Virtual Reality Games
Effects on Closeness, Empathy, and Game Immersion
This project investigated the effect of experiencing the perspective of a non-player character (NPC) in prosocial virtual reality (VR) games. In prosocial VR games, players usually take the role of a heroic player character and help other NPCs such as victims attacked by villains. This project examined if the players can experience the perspective of a victim NPC before a gameplay would influence their gameplay experiences. With a VR game made with Unity, the team conducted a lab-based study. The result shows that the perspective-taking of a NPC indirectly enhances light gamers’ level of immersion into a prosocial VR game, through its effect on perceived closeness to and empathy to the NPC. But the effect was not found among the heavy gamers. More details can be found in the paper published in Behaviour & Information Technology:
Ho, J. C. F., & Ng, R. (2020). Perspective-Taking of Non-Player Characters in Prosocial Virtual Reality Games: Effects on Closeness, Empathy, and Game Immersion. Behaviour & Information Technology. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2020.1864018 (Online First)
Before a gameplay, players experience what it is like to be a victim – a robot being destroyed (Left and middle). In the gameplay, the players need to use water guns to protect the remaining robots from fire (Right).
Jeffrey C. F. Ho, Project leader
Ryan Ng, Team member