ARE YOU GAME? Oculus creator develops VR headset that KILLS player if they die in virtual world

The normal-looking VR set features three terrifying 'explosive charge modules' that shoot at the head of the user when they die virtually

ARE YOU GAME? Oculus creator develops VR headset that KILLS player if they die in virtual world
Palmer Luckey is not playing around with his new creation (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images and Palmer Luckey/Blog Post)
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LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA: The founder of Meta's Oculus platform has reportedly built a terrifying virtual reality headset that aims to narrow down the gap between virtual and real life.

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Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, 30, has created a VR headset named ‘NerveGear’ that instantly 'destroys the brain' of the player when they die in the virtual game. The normal-looking VR set features three terrifying 'explosive charge modules' that shoot at the head of the user when they die virtually during gameplay and kills them instantly in real life.

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“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," Luckey, who sold his firm Oculus to Meta for $3 billion in 2014 at the age of 21, wrote in a blog post. "Pumped-up graphics 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. This is an area of videogame mechanics that has never been explored, despite the long history of real-world sports revolving around similar stakes."

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Luckey revealed that the system is not yet finished and hoped to create a headset that aims to make it impossible for users to remove or destroy it. As per the blog post, the system is inspired by the popular manga series Sword Art Online which also features a VR game of the same name. Nerve Gear in the series melts users’ brains with microwaves if they fail to escape the game. But Luckey decided to take it a step higher by killing the users with explosive molecules.

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"Gamers were trapped by a mad scientist inside a death game that could only be escaped through completion," Luckey explained. "If their hit points dropped to zero, their brain would be bombarded by extraordinarily powerful microwaves, supposedly killing the user. The same would happen if anyone in the real world tampered with their NerveGear, the virtual reality head-mounted display."

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Luckey said the system fires explosive molecules after detecting the specific shade of red that shows when a person dies in the game, meaning that developers could easily integrate the system. "When an appropriate game-over screen is displayed, the charges fire, instantly destroying the brain of the user," Luckey said.

The owner of defense contractor Anduril Industries called his creation 'a piece of office art' and 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 kill the user," he adds. "It won't be the last."

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