Want to be a Jedi in Star Wars: Battlefront? Or physically and haptically experience how characters feel in Surviving Mars or the latest Call of Duty: WWII – The War Machine DLC Pack 2? After we did a Razer Thresher Ultimate Wireless Headset test and our very last Razer Leviathan 5.1 Channel Surround Soundbar test, you might be interested in Razer’s Virtual Reality glasses.
Virtual Reality means maximum immersion. Imagine playing Destiny 2’s latest DLC expansion and tracking cameras as you move. Sprinting into cover, loading a plastic weapon into your real hands and targeting the enemy. It doesn’t take much more than a hand gesture recognition like Leap Motion to make the throw of a grenade a physical experience. Instead of just pressing the button, you have to swing your arm, calculate the intensity of the throw and the angle to hit the enemy.
Or you are standing at the maneuver meeting, you don’t want to listen to the Commander, and he yells at you. All this could be the not so distant future because Razer’s Virtual Reality glasses is an open source project. In principle, it is compatible with all gadgets, technologies, and findings of our time. It is enough to install an eye scanner system like the Sentry from SteelSeries. The action just described could already be activated on the hardware side.
How Good Is Razer’s Open-source Head Up Display?
But why does Razer want to enter the VR market, which is dominated by Oculus and Facebook? “To give him a push,” Razer’s CEO Min-Liang-Tan replies. In his opinion, it is a pity that virtual reality is a huge topic and a big hype, in which only very few selected people can participate. “We’re all gamers. Haven’t you ever wondered when VR started?”
He is right because there are only two groups currently benefiting from Virtual Reality: Journalists as well as trade fair visitors and around 125,000 owners of the Oculus Rift DevKit-2. However, is not exactly inexpensive at 450 US dollars. To make VR the relevant market for games, Razer wants to offer OSVR. A very affordable but perfect entry-level solution for everyone. For just 200 US dollars you can buy the so-called Razer Hacker Devkit, whose equipment must hide from the latest prototype from Oculus called Crescent Bay.
1080p Display and Double Lens Optics
At the CES, Razer’s head up display already made an excellent impression because the components are of extremely high quality. Razer uses a 60 Hz 1080p 104 PPI (pixels per inch) OLED display and dual lens optics to reduce eye strain. Because VR captures two different images onto the retina, so the gaming experience is a little more strenuous than the classic consumption on a PC or console. The field of view, which is already at 100 degrees in the diagonal, is also impressive. At Crescent Bay, it should reach 110, but is currently in the range around 95.
But what’s exciting is that the display can be unscrewed entirely and rebuilt. For example, you can plug in an Android smartphone via a slot mechanism, connect it via USB and thus create a cost-effective GearVR, as currently offered by Samsung. Samsung’s gadget costs only $195, but you need a Galaxy Note 4, which in turn requires $700. With OSVR you could also use a cheaper smartphone, for which of course VR content must be available.
What Does The Future Of Virtual Reality Look?
At the Consumer Electronic Expo, we have already been able to try out numerous spectacular virtual reality games, each of which requires a particular gadget. One of the most exciting features is undoubtedly the Stem system. It consists of three parts. A base station that emits an electric field and two control units shaped like laser sword handles and reflects the waves. So the Stem-System can track very precisely where you are at the moment and above all your movements can be moved without latency as far as possible. The precision knocked us out.
Whether we shake hands wildly or run the lightsaber as Jedi in a Star Wars game, the tracking never stops. Our movements are doing very well. It independents of the two control units. We can parry an attack with one stem and stab it head-on with the other. Or fend off the attack with both units or swing one right, the other left over your head and drove an attack from above. Currently, the product is developed for Oculus. But the makers have reacted positively to the Razer revelation and confirmed to us that they would take a close look at OSVR. Also, they want to make the stem compatible with it.
Virtual Reality is a fascinating but strange technology of the future. It’s hard to grasp and also hard to describe, which is why I can only agree with Razer’s CEO. It can’t be that we journalists can get in touch with VR for years and try out Oculus Crescent Bay or Sony’s Morpheus system all the time. But you only have the opportunity at Gamescom to wait several hours to do so.
In this respect, I can only welcome Razer’s Virtual Reality Initiative. The approach is fascinating. The Oculus, with its $3 billion from Facebook, builds and develops everything itself. Razer wants to deliver a significant amount of hacker dev kits to the community and other developers for little money. After that, probably they will turn the gem into a jewel. Anyway, the base is very impressive. The display is nice and sharp. The viewing angle is significant, and spectacle wearers can adjust the corresponding diopters.