In celebration of Sword Art Online, a well-known Japanese light novel and anime series, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey has developed a new VR headset with a twist. Now, in addition to dying in a virtual VR space, you can actually die in real life too.
Sword Art Online is set in the world of a virtual reality MMORPG. Gamers access the game through a NerveGear headset which they cannot take off while playing. The interesting part, however, is that much like in the 2006 horror film, Stay Alive, if you die in the game, you die in real life.
The fictional NerveGear headset uses a microwave emitter to kill the wearer upon in-game death. However, Luckey’s killer tribute headset, dubbed the OQPNVG, has mounted explosive charges for, ahem, when it’s game over.
Said charges will essentially fry the user’s brain when their avatar dies. He revealed the headset via blog post on November 6, the day Sword Art Online opened its servers in the original light novel series.
“The good news is that we are halfway to making a true NerveGear. The bad news is that so far, I have only figured out the half that kills you,” stated Luckey in the blog post. “The perfect-VR half of the equation is still many years out.”
According to Luckey, he has always found the idea of tying one’s actual life to their virtual avatars fascinating. Luckily, he has yet to test the OQPNVG since a number of potential errors could result in the player being killed prematurely.
“I have plans for an anti-tamper mechanism that, like the NerveGear, will make it impossible to remove or destroy the headset. Even so, there are a huge variety of failures that could occur and kill the user at the wrong time,” added Luckey.
Or alternatively, stay safe
Luckily the OQPNVG isn’t available to consumers. However, there are plenty of VR headset alternatives that aren’t life-threatening. Meta, who acquired Oculus in 2014, recently announced the Quest 3. Likewise, Apple is rumoured to be developing its own take on an AR/VR headset.