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A new standard for virtual reality continues to grow with some notable additions.
At this week’s 2015 Game Developers Conference, the Open-Source Virtual Reality ecosystem welcomes five new HMD manufacturers as well as one of the largest game publishers on the planet. Assassin’s Creed developer Ubisoft now joins other popular game makers Techland and Gearbox Software on the software side of the movement. Head-mounted display makers Vuzix and Technical Illusions are now supporting the group’s hardware efforts. These additions — 12 in all — bring the partner count for OSVR to over 50, giving the rapidly growing virtual reality market, which is expected to hit $5.2 billion by 2018, a large base to build from.
Gaming hardware company Razer and VR technology company Sensics joined like-minded industry leaders in early January to establish the Open-Source Virtual Reality ecosystem. This open platform announced several new supporters less than a month later, with a lineup that included input device manufacturers Virtuix and LeapMotion and software companies SofftKinectic and SonicVR.
“Since our announcement at CES less than two months ago, OSVR has propelled into a program that some of the world’s leading companies are joining,” says Min-Liang Tan, the CEO of Razer and founding member of OSVR, in a statement. “It’s the combined efforts of the partners that drive the entire VR industry toward a consumer-ready device that’s more immersive, upgradeable, inclusive and affordable than ever before.”
OSVR Hacker Development Kit v1.1 announced
The group launched its effort with the announcement of its $200 OSVR Hacker Devevelopment Kit, which included a VR headset and open-source software. This kit is already in the hands of select developers, and it works with popular game engines such as Unity 3D and Unreal 4 Engine. Today, OSVR announces version 1.1 of the hardware, which switches out the LED displays for HD OLED displays, bringing with them higher contrast and lower latency. Other improvements to the HMD’s mechanics and comfort features have been made.
Also new to this version of the hardware is faceplate compatibility. A selection of modules featuring hardware such as IR LEDs and cameras can better enable augmented reality and positional tracking.
OSVR will be available in June. Even with the improvements that version 1.1 brings, the price stays at $200.
OSVR source goes public
Alongside these announcements comes the public release of the OSVR software platform. The software is now available, open-source, at the OSVR website, and it includes plugins like Unreal Engine 4. The software provides support for 11 brands of head mounted displays, and support for additional hardware is on the way.
GDC 2015 hands-on availability
Razer will attend next week’s 2015 Game Developers Conference in an effort to show off the versatility of the OSVR platform. The company tells GamesBeat that it will have demo stations to show off new games, partner technologies, input devices, and new hardware during the event to developers.