Virtual reality (VR) is usually described by the media as a particular collection of technological hardware: a computer capable of 3-D real-time animation, a head-mounted display, and data gloves equipped with one or more position trackers. However, this focus on technology is somewhat disappointing for communication researchers and VR designers. To overcome this limitation, this paper describes VR as a communication tool: a communication medium in the case of multiuser VR and a communication interface in single-user VR. The consequences of this approach for the design and the development of VR systems are presented, together with the methodological and technical implications for the study of interactive communication via computers.

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