No respawn: VR pioneer says he’s created headset that kills you if you die in a game

Virtual reality gear has put millions of games in the thick of the action when it comes to video games, but one of the pioneers of this tech says he’s taken it to a whole other level. 

Mirroring the dystopian future of the anime Sword Art OnlinePalmer Luckey says he’s developed a virtual reality headset that will kill you if your avatar dies in a game. 

Like literally, game over. 

Sword Art‘s conceit is that players become trapped in a virtual world and must battle their way through it, or the mad scientist who trapped them would bombard their brains with microwaves through their headset.

Oh, and taking it off wouldn’t help either: the same lethal penalty applies. 

Luckey, who developed the Oculus gaming technology used by millions the world over, claims to have created a real-life set of VR headgear that does something similar. 

He explains, “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.”

Luckey claims to have been limited by real-life technology, so he swapped out the lethal microwaves with something more practical. “In lieu of this, I used three of the explosive charge modules I usually use for a different project…,” he continues. “When an appropriate game-over screen is displayed, the charges fire, instantly destroying the brain of the user.”

He concludes with a double caveat, “At this point, it 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.”