I strapped a virtual reality headset and headphones on this morning for the first time ever in my life, and it's almost impossible to describe how amazing the experience is.
"You are completely and totally immersed in another location," said John Riccitiello, the CEO of Unity Technologies, in a speech at the inaugural Vision Summit in Hollywood, California. He spoke of the feeling of fear, excitement, and even anxiety when immersed in the virtual world.
And he's right.
This morning, I went on a tour inside of a dangerous underground mine and truly felt like I was there. Then I played tennis, and actually moved and acted as if I was playing in the real world. Then I moved on to become a spy, trying to dodge dangerous robots who were trying to kill me.
Most people who pick up a PlayStation 4 controller and play "Call of Duty" will be entertained and have some fun shooting at bad guys. But they won't really ever get a sense of what a real soldier may go through in combat.
In virtual reality, it really is possible to feel it, and it's a truly exciting prospect.
In the game Budget Cuts, which I tried out, you are a spy moving through a virtual space to complete your mission. The demo is pretty basic: You pick up things, you literally move your feet to walk around, but mostly use hand controllers to move even further distances. And eventually, you encounter giant robots that shoot at you, unless you can throw a knife at them first.
When I played it, I actually felt fear. I had genuine anxiety coming around a corner, thinking one of the robots would be there. And when I unfortunately didn't take my enemy out, there was a disappointment that was more real to me than what I'd felt after losing any video game I've ever played.
It's not just about video games. NASA is using virtual reality to control its Curiosity Rover on Mars right now. Hollywood filmmakers are toying with the possibility of telling stories in a virtual world no longer constrained by a static screen in a movie theater. And everyone from architects to medical professionals are adapting the technology for their own ends.
"In my opinion," said Riccitiello. "What's going on today is nothing short of a revolution."
But perhaps the revolution he speaks of will not be a virtual world that looks like our own. It will be a world in which virtual reality is better than the real world, said Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey, where people go beyond what is even possible.
The common theme among VR professionals is that it's hard to describe. You just can't put into words what it's like moving through and experiencing a virtual space. And to a certain extent, they are correct.
"You have to try them to really understand what it's all about," said Richard Marks, the Director of Sony's Magic Labs.
With the Oculus Rift reaching the mass market later this year, and others like Samsung VR and Google Cardboard showing steady adoption right now, it's a safe bet that many more people won't need to be told how it feels.
They are going to put on the headsets and peer into the virtual world. And they will be blown away once they do.