Metaverse and Social Virtual Reality for Online Collaboration



Virtual Reality, Metaverse, Online Collaboration, Spatial, Digital Innovation


“We're at the beginning of the next chapter for the internet”, said Mark Zuckerberg in 2021 in his letter about the name change from Facebook to Meta. Social virtual reality (VR) platforms are part of the metaverse: Users immerse themselves in the metaverse using VR headsets and can interact with other users as avatars in a virtual world. During a digital conversation, non-verbal communication can suddenly be experienced in three dimensions. This raises the question of the extent to which the metaverse and social VR platforms can be used for online collaboration. Previous research has investigated how other media, such as the telephone or videoconferencing, can influence teamwork. Theories of media choice attempt to justify the extent to which communication media are chosen for particular interactions. However, there is still a research gap when it comes to including, comparing, and classifying the metaverse in these studies. In an experiment, 24 participants were divided into groups of four and given a creativity task and a decision task to solve together. The experiment tests the use of the metaverse as an alternative to videoconferencing. A standardised questionnaire was used to measure differences in use between the metaverse and videoconferencing, and variables from input-process-output models of teamwork were used as comparison characteristics. The results show that the metaverse can improve the process compared to videoconferencing. In particular, it is shown that social presence increases in the metaverse compared to videoconferencing. The quality of communication can also be improved in the metaverse compared to videoconferencing. With further development of the technology, the metaverse has the potential to replace videoconferencing in the mainstream in a few years.