The Impact of Virtual Reality on Gaming Experience: A Perspective from Half-Life on Steam
Authors: Fangyu Yu, Ba Hung Nguyen, Duy Tai Dinh, Xueyou Wu, Yang Yu, Tsutomu Fujinami
Abstract: The Covid-19 outbreak affected the operations of various businesses due to the temporary closure of several industries. Virtual Reality (VR) technology has experienced a surge in demand. As a new form of human-computer interaction, VR introduces new opportunities for game development. In 2020, the global market for VR games was estimated at $15.81 billion and expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.0% from 2021 to 2028. Compared with traditional computer games, the immersive nature of VR games and the use of VR headsets bring new experiences to players. A few studies of players' feedbacks and concerns for VR were carried out to enable game developers to better take of the growing VR market. Nevertheless, research conducted on the influence of VR on player reviews data uploaded in the community was limited. Thus, this paper analyzes the impact of VR on the player community by carrying out an analysis of the Half-Life series. The Half-Life series contains three generations: Half-Life (1998), Half-Life 2 (2004), and Half-Life Alyx (2020), which are available on Steam. Steam is a video game digital distribution platform maintained by Valve Corporation. In this study, we first collected the dataset of Half-Life series reviews available on Steam. Notably, we collected a new review dataset of the Half-Life series from Steam, including approximately 60,000 Half-Life 2 with its two downloaded contents (non-VR edition) reviews and 40,000 Half-Life: Alyx (VR edition) reviews up to June 2021. Next, we used the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) model, and three experts were involved in analyzing these topics to categorize reviews with 11 topics of Half-Life: Alyx. We also detected the pivotal insight that most game players are concerned with only five topics of fundamental game elements between two games. Furthermore, players' positive ratings were compared on these five topics between two games via hypothesis testing to explore the impact of VR technology on video games. Significantly, the p-value of our two-sample t-test reveals the fact that VR has no significant impact on these fundamental game elements.
Keywords: Online Reviews, Virtual Reality, Topic Modeling, Steam
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