Put on the headset: You’re on a dark city street below glittering skyscrapers. Look down and there’s your body, your robotic hands, and metallic feet. Look up and there’s a neon pink enemy charging at you. You strike first, your real hands transformed into virtual weapons. The enemy robot goes down in a flare of light.
Take off the headset: You’re sitting on the couch in the living room. Sunlight pours in through the window.
Virtual reality has existed in one form or another for decades. Since the term was coined in the 1980s, VR has been used to train pilots, assist doctors, and help patients with PTSD, and the number of applications just keeps growing.
But the era of modern VR gaming started just about a decade ago. And in 2014, Facebook made a $3 billion bet on VR when it purchased the headset manufacturer Oculus.
“Oculus has definitely become kind of the Kleenex of virtual reality,” Morgan says.
As investors poured hundreds of millions of dollars into VR, Facebook put its own cash into funding games in the hopes that better experiences might attract people to buy the gear.
“When you play a regular PC game you’re driving [the character] around,” he says. “Even when you’re in the first person, it’s still on your PC screen. You look around, and there are your roommate eating crackers. [But] when you put on that headset you’re completely immersed in a world … you can be anywhere.”