It’s the next big thing, say the folks who make their living predicting the next big thing. Investors are on board, too, ponying up more than $400 million for startups this year, and would-be players seeking even more money are everywhere on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

With big names including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Sony behind a next generation of high-dollar, high-tech gear about to hit the market, 2016 could be its year. The coolest thing about it, though, might be that anyone with a smartphone and $20 (or less) can have a lot of fun getting a taste of what it’s like. “It” is virtual reality, whose futuristic looking headsets immerse users in the feeling of being somewhere else. That can be on this Earth, for everything from corporate or athletic training to sharing a death-defying cliff climb, or in another reality for advanced game playing and enhanced fantasy storytelling.

Here’s a quick look at virtual reality as big business, little business and — what we’re really interested in — monkey business.

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