C8. Be Aware of the First-Time Halo Effect

“The first time I played this I game I thought it was perfect. I wouldn't have changed anything about it. But now that I have played it for a while some of it doesn't make sense. I didn't notice the difficulties in my first few playthroughs because I was impressed by the initial play.”

Players who are new to VR often overlook difficulties in new player experience or game mechanics due to their focus on the novelty of the experience.

Halo effect/error is when a player is caught up (in awe) in the initial experience of the game and fails to see any flaws. This can greatly influence the feedback from players, the first round of responses may be overwhelmingly positive due to the Halo Effect/Error. Overtime however, this phenomena will subside and players will have a more accurate impression/idea of the game. This is the period where player feedback is more reliable because they are seeing the game for what it is rather than allowing the halo of newness color their perception.

Examples to consider:

  • Land's End: At the start of the game, the player is amazed and awed by the world around him, repeatedly saying that everything looks "so real" and that he feels like he is actually there. The game accounts for this sense of awe by giving him as much time as he would like to look at the world around him. The beginning section of the game features only simple puzzles and a straight pathway, so the player does not miss the introduction of any key mechanics while caught up in the halo effect.
  • Tilt Brush: In the first few minutes of using the application, the user is audibly wowed by the functions and visuals of the application. After a few attempts to paint directly onto a 3D surface, however, the player sighs and expresses that drawing is actually quite difficult in the software.
  • Mighty Monster Mayhem: Over the course of two minutes, the player goes from raving about how much he is enjoying the game to pointing out a variety of small imperfections. After his initial sense of awe fades, he begins to say things like “that’s a weird feeling,” “I can’t reach for them underneath me, it’s terrible,” and “it’s weird to grab them [people] with the trackpad.”