Just ahead of E3 2016, the OSVR HDK 2 has been announced with the aim of taking on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive with a similar experience — at a more aggressive price point.
The first OSVR (Open Source VR) headset was actually announced all the way back at CES 2015 as a way for developers to try out making VR with a platform that was truly open and flexible. As for who is behind OSVR? The brand is a partnership between the well known Razer and a VR company called Sensics. We’ve known for a while that OSVR was working on something new, just not many details on what that would entail.
This time around with the OSVR HDK 2, Razer and Sensics are taking aim at consumers, and not just developers, despite the name HDK (Hacker Development Kit). The new headset offers two high quality displays for a resolution of 2160 x 1200 that’s comparable to Rift and Vive, and it also utilizes many of the same technologies as its competitors. One area it’s lacking is room scale, something Oculus also lacks, though the team behind OSVR has potential plans for adding the feature in the future.
The big selling point for the OSVR HDK2 is the price tag. At just $399, you’re saving hundreds of dollars. Of course, you still need a PC capable of running VR. The good news is that paired with something like the ultra-affordable AMD RX480 GPU, you could be looked at a total investment cost that dips below $1200 depending on how many concessions you make on building your PC to get there. Sure that’s still quite expensive, but the takeawy here is that pricing for PC-based VR is slowly starting to descend.
Of course a cheap price point won’t matter if your favorite VR accessories and games aren’t supported. Thankfully, on the gaming front the OSVR is ready to go with full support for the Steam VR store. Just keep in mind games that are built for room presence features won’t work here. On the accessory side, there’s no official controller bundled with the OSVR but just about any good gamepad should do the job.
There’s still a bunch of unknowns when it comes to the OSVR HDK2, but if it runs anywhere near the same level as the competition while offering a much cheaper price of entry, it could very well be worth taking a look. Either way, we’re already here in Los Angeles getting ready for all the great E3 announcements heading down the pipe and will be sure to bring your our hands on impressions of the HDK2 later this week!