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New Resource: Social Virtual Reality Best Practices

Posted By Jen MacLean, Monday, July 30, 2018

As a team, the IGDA Board of Directors and staff are focused on continually providing more resources to our members and the game development community at large. I'm excited to share a new resource, a white paper on Social Virtual Reality Best Practices, by IGDA Board member Renee Gittins.

Renee shares her story below:

Just before Oculus Rift's launch, a developer and I were talking about the press' reactions to his competitive virtual reality game. He mentioned a reporter had been demoing the game when she heard a voice. She asked the developers if that was the voice of her opponent, and they confirmed that it was. What she said next shocked the development team: "That's nice, but I wouldn't use that feature myself."

The development team had not considered that players might not want to hear or talk with their opponents. They had not included the ability to disable the functionality or mute opponents.

With only two weeks before the launch of the Oculus Rift and their game, the team rushed to add that functionality, adjust the user interfaces, and get the new build through certification.  Rushing to add last minute features is a situation that no developer or publisher enjoys.

Since the launch of VR gaming and experiences, there have been countless incidents of harassment in virtual reality. Many of these incidents have been in virtual reality experiences with advanced and sophisticated interaction systems and game design, but which lack moderation tools and pipelines to prevent and handle abusive incidents. Wonderful virtual experiences are plagued with toxic communities and negative press due to being released without systems in place to discourage and stop harassment.

Today, the IGDA is releasing a set of guidelines created by Renee to help developers avoid similar incidents. These guidelines cover a wide array of approaches and tools to help prevent abuse in virtual reality. There benefits and risks of each approach, and their applicability varies greatly per project, but these best practices will help game creators consider potential risks and solutions when developing social virtual reality experiences. Read the guidelines here.

Tags:  community management  resource  social  virtual reality 

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