The separation of the mind, which is processing information using the electrochemical system of the brain, and the consciousness, which is said to be inexplicable as the result of such processing, will probably not hold up in the long run. This despite the best efforts of philosophers who desire to keep a space for a soul which persists after death, is in communication with a god, and so forth.
However, the discussion of the VR gamer observing the game is probably in the right direction. To shift the perspective slightly, consider a server complex in a data center that is managing a complex, multiplayer, distributed game. Beyond the programs that implement game functions, there will be another set of programs that admit players, mange players, start game functions, identify problems, possibly even spin up added servers/containers as load changes, monitor usage, etc.
This system management layer of software is becoming ever more complex and capable in how it observes the functioning of the data center and the information processing going on in the data center. It, rather than AI or machine learning, is the layer that will eventually be recognized to be conscious.