Razer delves into VR with the OSVR initiative and $200 Hacker Dev Kit

— 2:14 PM on January 7, 2015

We told you about Razer's Forge TV yesterday, but that's not the only news from the company this week. Razer  has also teamed up with a "group of industry leaders" on the Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) ecosystem, an initiative that aims to democratize virtual-reality gaming. Here are the Cliff's Notes from the announcement:

OSVR provides both hardware and software support at every level of virtual reality gaming. Starting with some of the most popular game engines, including Unity 3D and Unreal 4 Engine, OSVR also works with device plugins from hardware market leaders like Bosch and Razer and the latest from Sixense and LeapMotion. Moreover, OSVR is designed to support all VR devices, including the Oculus DK 2 and Vrvana’s Totem headset.

Razer's contribution to the OSVR initiative is the Hacker Dev Kit, a VR headset priced at just $199.99. The headset is scheduled for a public release in June, though Razer says it's already available today for "limited developer access."

The Hacker Dev Kit features a 5.5" 1080p display with a 60Hz refresh rate and "flat cables and display board interface for interchangeable panels." The stereoscopic optics allow for 90° horizontal and vertical viewing angles, and they also enable independent inter-pupillary distance and diopter adjustments "for use without glasses and maximum comfort." Built-in sensors include an accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, and the device even has USB 3.0 connectivity.

The guys at The Verge went hands-on (or rather head-on) with the Hacker Dev Kit; they say the experience was "fine," but the device is reminiscent of the "early days of Oculus prototypes, when you could imagine the potential more than you could experience it." That's hardly high praise, but it's perhaps not surprising in light of the asking price. At $200, the Hacker Dev Kit undercuts the latest Oculus hardware by $150.

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