This is the future of friendship in virtual reality

Oculus Rift Oculus TouchOculus VRAn Oculus Rift being used with the Oculus Touch motion controllers.

Virtual reality has blown me away two times.

The first time was in a German hotel room in August 2012, where the first employees of Oculus VR were showing off a very early prototype of the Oculus Rift — the headset that convinced Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg to buy Oculus VR for $US2 billion in March 2014. 

The second time was this past June, when Oculus was showing off its motion controller (“Oculus Touch”) with a new demo called “Toybox.”

I stood in one room with a headset over my eyes and motion controllers approximating my hand movements. Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey stood in another room with the same gear.

And then we met in virtual reality: He, a floating head and a pair of hands; I, the same. This is what I saw:

That’s a new video Oculus released this week showing off Toybox to the world for the first time.

If that doesn’t look especially impressive, I assure you it’s much more impressive when you’re physically there and you’re able to, say, fire bottle rockets at your virtual pal. Or suddenly transport to space with them. Or play a game of ping pong with physics that feel real. Or any of the other stuff you’d normally do in real life, except you’re suddenly a wizard with the ability to conjure items and change physics or the environment around you or, you know, other wizard stuff.

If nothing else, the feeling of physically being somewhere with another person was unbelievable. Instead of being in the next room, Luckey could’ve been on the next continent over, yet it’d have felt like he was right next to me. That’s the real magic of virtual reality.

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