Palmer Luckey Oculus’s founder aims for supervillain headsets and a real-life game experience. He claims that the company has designed a new VR headset to change the gaming world; it will kill you in real life if you were playing a game and died in it.
That may sound like a sci-fi movie where if your avatar is playing and dies, you will die too. But none of us are trapped in a video game and this creation is not fiction because a real VR headset has been created with the prospect of killing players in real life if they dare die in the game. Creepy right?
According to a recent blog released on November 6 the VR headset project is inspired by Sword Art Online, a Japanese novel series anime from the 2000s. Luckey discussed his project by highlighting what the VR headset would accomplish for gamers. In the series, on November 6, 2022 thousands of people were trapped in a VRMMO by a scientist and the people could only get out “through completion” of the game.
The VR headset could not be removed by players and the twist, if a player died in the game, the player would also be killed in real life by the “NerveGear” headset that would bombard the player’s brain with microwave radiation.
Following the idea behind the franchise, Luckey claimed to have made a similar headset in his recent blog post. According to Luckey, the idea had to be modified because the deadly microwaves that could kill in real life would not work in real life without “attaching the headset to gigantic pieces of equipment,” so to make the idea feasible in the real world Luckey says he has instead used “three explosive charge modules” to do the job.
The explosive charge modules were connected to a “narrow-band photosensor” adjusted to an exact frequency of flashes of red light. This feature would make it easy for any developer to adapt to a game over screen. When this screen appears and the sensors are activated the explosive charges “fire instantly destroying the brain of the user.”
According to Luckey, the NerveGear is an unbelievable device “that perfectly recreates reality using a direct neural interface that is also capable of killing the user.” Explaining why he thought of recreating such a device Luckey said “the idea of tying your real life to your virtual avatar has always fascinated me- you instantly raise the stakes to the maximum level and force people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with the virtual world and the players inside it.”
The project is a walk toward villain terrain but Luckey says that the headset is not fully finished for the user market. One thing is sure though, the closest VR headset to the Sword Art Online story is still way behind in coming out to real life so people can rest easy. Lucky has also hinted that he is planning on creating an “anti-tamper mechanism” that will make it impossible for players to remove the headset once put on. Creepy as that sounds, Luckey has not yet tested his invention because “there are a huge variety of failures that could occur and kill the user at the wrong time.”
As of now, the VR headset is simply “a piece of office art” according to Luckey who also alleges that this project is not the last in creating VR technology pieces that can be deadly. It’s impossible to imagine how this technology can be used for good and others might argue, but the maker behind the latest idea has been caught up in a political storm in recent years following Oculus’ move to Facebook. But what we can see is how Lucky is going down the slippery road of villainy terrain.
While virtual reality pushes things, Luckey believes his project is the right push toward creating games that will feel more real and offer the serious threat that some players may be thrilled with. He said, “Pumped-up graphics (of video games) might make a game look more real, but only the threat of serious consequences can make a game feel real to you and every other person in the game.”
Luckey has acknowledged that what he is working on is a whole new phenomenon “this is an area of videogame mechanics that has never been explored, despite the long history of real-world sports revolving around similar stakes.” And while the project is yet to be finalized Luckey believes that one day this “thought-provoking reminder of unexplored avenues in game design” will become one of the first “non-fiction” designs of a VR design that can kill players in real-time if they die in the game they were playing.
Oculus was sold to Facebook in 2014 for $3 billion by the founder Palmer Luckey which was a startup virtual reality by then. Oculus has been part of the foundation of the metaverse that Zuckerberg has created for users to access a digital world by using VR and AR devices. Luckey stayed on with Facebook after selling his startup but was later fired in 2016.
Luckey believes that this lethal device is worth the investment and hopes that in the future other developers like him will create something as perfectly lethal. The designer said that the VR headsets are half ready so that they can kill the user but require more work to make “the perfect-VR half” which is why even he has not worked up the courage to use it.
For seemingly more friendly VR ideas that don’t plan on killing anyone is the Quest Pro VR headset that was announced by Mark Zuckerberg last month. The Metaverse CEO announced the new headsets as a step closer to creating a virtual reality world that easily blends into the real world pushing boundaries to what can be done with entertainment devices.