A recent study has explored the trends of social VR usage, uncovering the habits of the most deeply immersed VR users, including their romantic inclinations, reasons for socialising and spending patterns. While most VR users identify as male, a striking 75% opt for feminine avatars within the virtual realm.
Driven by a passion for understanding the evolving landscape of social VR, Liudmila (Mila) Bredikhina, a PhD student, and Virtual Girl Nem, a Japanese VTuber, collaborated to conduct the large-scale survey titled ‘Social VR Census 2023.’
This comprehensive study delves into the lifestyles of individuals who actively engage in social VR platforms such as VRChat, garnering responses from over 2,000 VR users across Europe, North America and Japan.
In terms of romance, the survey shows that over 40% of VR users have fallen in love within the virtual realm, with personality emerging as the primary driving force behind these virtual connections. Notably, the physical gender of their virtual partners holds little sway for two-thirds of those who have found love in VR.
As far as the economy goes, the survey finds that the vast majority of VR users are willing to pay for content, with 18% spending an impressive $700 or more annually. This willingness to spend extends to virtual products, with 42% of users making physical purchases following such experiences. Interestingly, while a quarter of surveyed users generate income within VR, only a select 7% earn $700 or more per year.
With community, the three most popular types identified were fashion-oriented, music-focused and casual gatherings centred around drinking or chatting. And when it comes to avatar choices, the majority of VR users opt for humanoid or semi-humanoid forms.
“We are proud to present this second edition of the Social VR Lifestyle Survey. The ‘Nem x Mila’ research unit is a passion project, and our goal is to investigate different facets of social VR each year,” said Mila. “Both of us are social VR users and we want to share more about the world we live in. We also want to thank various VR-related organisations who assisted us with information dissemination to help us reach our goal.”
A broader perspective
By offering a glimpse into the behaviours and spending habits of social VR users, the survey showcases a virtual economy driven by substantial investments in avatars and virtual events. While the extent to which these spending patterns extend to casual VR visitors remains unclear, the study sheds light on the evolving dynamics of this immersive medium.
While the survey does provide valuable insights into the realm of social VR, it is important to consider the limitations of the data. The majority of responses were received from Japan and VRChat. Also, the survey’s findings may not fully capture the experiences of casual VR users who don’t spend as much time or money in these virtual environments.
You can read the full ‘Social VR Census 2023’ report here.