Young Chinese play a first-person shooter game at a virtual reality experience center in Beijing.
The goggle-based technology got off to a hot start in China last year, and creators are now chasing The Next Big Thing in content to continue the momentum, Xing Yi reports
I'm locked in a deserted workshop. Dead silence, except for the sound of mice running across the dust-covered floor. I've been groping among the rusted tools and cases for almost half an hour now, cracking one code after another, but the door still doesn't open.
I have to get out, before my nerves get the better of me.
I turn around to look into the mirror on the wall and spot something unusual - the reflection is indeed the room I'm standing in, only what it was like 15 years ago when everything was shiny and new. There is a string of numbers written on the wall. Could this be the last code I'm looking for? Heart pumping in my chest, I dial the combination on the door lock ... and it clicks.
The door opens, to my surprise, to a train compartment. I look outside the window only to be more surprised - the train is running on the surface of the sea.
But in reality, I didn't go anywhere. I take off the goggles, and I am in a small office of Oz Technology, a startup in the southeastern suburb of Beijing.
For the past half-hour, I've been playing a virtual reality game of the room-escape genre created by the company.
Tan Shuhong is the founder of the company with 15 employees, which released the game The 18th Floor in October. On his desktop stand five trophies for the game, all different industry awards.
"My first encounter with VR was a 'wow' experience," says Tan, recalling his first try of several virtual reality demos on an Oculus headset in 2015.