You have another option if you’re looking to jump into virtual reality.
The HDK2 is the newest headset from the gaming-hardware company Razer, and it will start shipping in July for $400. HDK2 is the second headset from Razer as part of the Open Source Virtual Reality consortium that it cofounded and operates. While the price is $200 cheaper than the $600 Oculus Rift and $100 less expensive than even the PlayStation VR, Razer claims that the HDK2’s openness and commitment to compatibility is just as important to consumers. In a VR market that could reach $40 billion in spending by 2020, according to SuperData Research, Razer is trying to take an approach that helps it build a business at the center of VR without locking anyone out.
“The HDK 2 allows us to meet the needs of VR fans and gamers and provide developers with affordable open-source hardware to innovate with,” Razer OSVR boss Christopher Mitchel said. “With the HDK 2 being able to deliver a visual experience on par with industry leaders, we will now be able to represent hardware agnostic VR media and games in all their glory for future headsets to adopt through the open source ecosystem.”
This head-mounted display works with SteamVR and is open to anyone who wants to insall VR games on it. Beyond that openness, however, is an impressive spec sheet. Here’s some highlights from the headsets feature set:
- 2160×1200 resolution
- Dual OLED dislpay
- 90hz low-latency refresh rate
- Custom lenses
That last point about the lenses is a big deal for Razer. The company claims that its optics solve some of the common problems with players seeing individual pixels inside of VR. That could give the system an advantage — once again, beyond the price comparison.
“We are on a mission to democratize VR by offering open, affordable, high-performance software and hardware solutions with nearly-universal device and game engine compatibility,” OSVR cofounder Yuval Boger said. “Powered by the effort of the core Sensics and Razer engineering teams, participation of OSVR partners and contributions from VR enthusiasts worldwide, we look forward to sharing new and exciting capabilities.”
But even while looking forward, Razer doesn’t want to take away one of its other options. It will continue to sell its original HDK for $300.
Finally, this launch is accompanying a new fund from OSVR that will provide $5 million to studios working in the space. Razer is leading this initiative, but it told GamesBeat that it also expects to get support from other companies. We’ve previously seen HTC do something similar with its HTC X funding program.
“We understand content developers have various development challenges, and we’re committed to helping them get ahead of those barriers,” OSVR director Justin Cooney said. “The OSVR Developer Fund helps to support initial sales while enabling developers to contribute to the VR industry as a whole. Together, OSVR and its content partners enjoy the realization of a shared vision for the future of VR.”
One of the most interesting ways that Razer will support members of the OSVR program is by buying keys for newly released games that work on sites like Steam. The studio will get that money, and then they can also potentially decide to hand those new unlock codes out to the media and streamers and more.
With the both a new headset and VR fund in the works, Razer is doing what it can to ensure it doesn’t get left behind in this potentially lucrative new market. And if it gets good, the hardware company could design the last piece of hardware you’ll ever need because you’ll just simulate the rest.