The founder of the VR company Oculus, Palmer Luckey claims to have created a headset that can kill you in real life if you die in a video game.
In a blog post titled “If you die in the game, you die in real life,” the original creator of the Oculus headset, which today serves as the backbone of Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse ambitions, described how he modified his headset to explode when a user lost a video game, killing them in real life as well.
Luckey said he was inspired to create the deadly gaming device by a fictional VR headset called “NerveGear” from the anime TV series Sword Art Online.
“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… only the threat of serious consequences can make a game feel real to you and every other person in the game,” Luckey wrote.
As Luckey noted, unlike the fictional NerveGear, he was unable to devise a mechanism for killing the wearer with powerful microwaves. Instead, out of all the evils that he could conjure up, he used explosives to execute his morbid vision.
“When an appropriate game-over screen is displayed, the charges fire, instantly destroying the brain of the user,” Luckey wrote.
In 2014, Luckie sold Oculus for $2 billion to Facebook, leaving in 2017. Later, he told CNBC he believed he was terminated for “no particular reason” and speculated that his right-wing political donations had caused the firing. Facebook, which is now Meta, disputed Palmer’s claim, saying his departure had nothing to do with his political beliefs.
Luckey says his lethal headset is just a piece of office art, a thought-provoking reminder of unexplored avenues in game design.
“It is also, as far as I know, the first non-fiction example of a VR device that can actually kill the user. It won’t be the last,” Luckey wrote.
“See you in the metaverse,” he concluded.