On the fourth floor of a fourteen-story California skyscraper, a stone’s throw from UC Irvine, a tiny startup named Oculus is trying to bring the idea of virtual reality back to life. It might even have a chance: just six months ago, the company raised $2.4 million on Kickstarter with only a duct-taped pair of LCD-equipped ski goggles to its name, and now the company’s about to start shipping some 10,000 completed Oculus Rift developer kits to its backers in the video game industry.

It’s a major milestone for Oculus, but visiting the company’s headquarters on a Friday afternoon, you’d be hard-pressed to find a whiff of celebration in the air. Seven employees are heads-down on hardware and software projects, while two executives are audibly making business calls. It’s a beautiful day outside, but the team can hardly tell: the only staffer whose blinds aren’t closed is ensconced in a VR headset. Even the decor shows signs of neglect: though the lobby boasts a selection of Gears of War art and a premium Guitar Hero instrument placed by the front desk, the offices are relatively sparse. Some art simply leans against the wall waiting to be hung, while other trinkets remain in their boxes. It’s not a priority yet.

The reason is this: Oculus’ labors are just beginning with the release of the developer kit.