When is VR superior to traditional video?

The SPP Model of Virtual Reality

I've done a lot of research on the effects that visual perspective has on viewers' emotions and attitudes (see my master's thesis). The fact is, there isn't one style or medium that's perfectly superior to all the alternatives, there's a time and a place for each. But that's life- no silver bullet.

With my thesis, I only scratched the surface on the psychological responses of first person vs third person video, but I learned enough to be able to carry the knowledge forward for examining traditional 2D video (or images) vs virtual reality. With enough research and enough time spent in virtual reality, the SPP model is self evident. This does not take motor skill training and interactivity into consideration, this is for passive video experiences.

If you are trying to decide whether the content you're going to make would be more informative and more impactful in VR, consult the SPP model.


When it is important to impart a sense of scale for a person/place/thing, VR is superior. VR is capable of providing a 'compared to me' perspective, enabling an actual understanding or feeling of size.

A silhouette of a head looking at a silhouette of a banana representing a person's understanding of scale.


When it is important that an individual feel immersed or present, VR is superior. VR is experienced from the canonical spatial and proximal perspective. This creates a sensation of physical presence and intimacy.

Two silhouette heads looking at each other representing the sensation of intimacy.


When it is important for a viewer to choose what they see within an environment, or prioritize viewing targets, VR is superior.

A downward view of a silhouette head surrounded by icons representing noise and distraction in every direction.