The VR reading library Oculus hid at its developer conference

The books decorating Oculus' demo rooms are more than just set dressing.

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The VR reading library Oculus hid at its developer conference

Oculus' annual developer conference serves as a touchstone for its community; a time to see how far virtual reality has come in the last year and to inspire, motivate and help developers build the VR experiences of tomorrow. Most of that comes in the form of announcements, panels and software showcases, but in the media demo rooms, the VR company hid dense sources for inspiration in plain sight. Stacked just above the TV in at each demo station was a small collection of books -- all of them about either games, game development or the effect of virtual reality on our culture.

Gallery: The books of Oculus Connect 3 | 16 Photos

  • Ready Player One, by Earnest Cline
  • Press Start To Play
  • Beyond Reality, A guide to to Alternate Reality Gaming
  • Convergence Culture
  • Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games
  • Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality
  • Extra Lives (Why video games matter)
  • Infinite Reality: The Hidden Blueprint of Our Virtual Lives
  • Optic Gaming: The Making of eSports Champions
  • Playing Along
  • The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design
  • Reality is Broken
  • Total Engagement
  • The State of Play
  • Get Real: A Philosophical Adventure in Virtual Reality
  • Gamescape Overworld

Executives at Oculus have been pretty open about the books that inspire them. Both Ready Player One and Snow Crash have been name-dropped by the company's founders on multiple occasions, and the former novel is almost required reading at the company: every new employee gets a copy. It's supposed to get employees motivated about building great virtual reality experiences -- but it seems like the team at Oculus gets inspiration from more than just science fiction.

Between game demos, one could read about the perils of game addiction in Edward Castronova's Exodus to the Virtual World, or bone up on the value of games as an artistic medium in Tom Bissell's Extra Lives. There were books on the effect of virtual reality on the human psyche, the lives of pro-gamers, how commerce in video games is effecting our real-world economy, and more. It's not an official reading list by any means, but it's clear that Oculus' set dressers chose the conference's display books carefully. Through the course of three days, we counted sixteen different books on gaming or VR, all catalogued in the gallery above. If you're looking for something to read now that Oculus Connect 3 has come to an end, take a look -- there are plenty of options.

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The VR reading library Oculus hid at its developer conference