Razer eyes an open source future for virtual reality with OSVR

Even now, years after Oculus VR first made waves on Kickstarter, virtual reality continues to be a buzzy, in-development prospect that delights CES attendees every year. The show’s 2015 edition is no different, with all manner of comers stepping up to share their own take on fully immersive head-mounted displays. Razer’s entry into the space is absolutely no surprise, but the company’s execution certainly is: “The Android of VR,” according to co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan.

Meet OSVR, Razer’s long-in-development VR platform. It’s the product of more than four years of development effort, but you shouldn’t view it as an Oculus Rift competitor. OSVR is open source, with hardware and software design — the products of the company’s multi-year effort — available for everyone to play with.

Available at: Razer Store

In order to understand what OSVR is, it’s important to know what it isn’t. Razer hasn’t developed an operating system; the software and hardware is built to work with Android, Linux, and Windows. It’s also not a single headset or a line of HMDs; Razer has and will sell a headset of its own design, but anyone is free to download the plans and build one independently.


And again: OSVR isn’t an Oculus competitor. The software is built to play as nice with the Rift (and other headsets) as it will with Razer’s own unit and those built off of Razer’s specs. The focus of OSVR is entirely on gaming, Tan tells us, and it’ll be supported by plugins for everything from input devices to game engines.

That’s not a vague promise of support, either. Razer is already working with a diverse assortment of industry figures: Game developers like Techland (Dying Light) and Gearbox Software (Borderlands series); game engine gatekeepers like Unreal and Unity; and input device manufacturers like Leapmotion and Sixense.

Razer expects to launch its VR initiative in June 2015. The OSVR Hacker Dev Kit is priced at $200 — though again, tech-oriented tinkerers can download all the info they need to build their own — and the company will start taking pre-orders at CES.

We’ll be getting a firsthand look at the headset and chatting with Razer about OSVR at the show, so stay tuned for more details soon.

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