SAN FRANCISCO -- Showing off the versatility of Razer's new VR headset, the Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), Razer ran three demos at GDC 2015. Each used a different peripheral. Available sometime in June 2015, the open-source headset will be available for $199. The new and improved headset comes with a 1080p OLED panel for better color and detail. Also, Razer recently announced several new partners, including Ubisoft, Vuzik and Homindo, which makes for more than 50 partners and counting.
The first demo paired OSVR with a Leap Motion controller. Attached to the headset's faceplate, the controller enabled the wearer gesture control abilities without having to use a set of controls. For the demo, my colleague, Sam Rutherford, played a game where he had to shoot down several evil ghosts by dual-wielding an ice ball and a fire ball. By holding out his hands out in front of him, he transformed into a demon-killing machine. Sam described the experience as smooth, with very little latency.
From there, I took a turn with the OSVR. However for my demo, Razer switched out the Leap Motion controller for Nod Labs' Ring. Wearing the device on my right index finger, my right hand become my trusty gun in my attempt to defend myself from an angry hoard of stuffed animals. The black ring had three controls, which I used to dispatch my fluffy prey. Swiping upwards on the flat edge of the ring allowed me to move forward while pressing a small button on the side let me strafe diagonally backwards. Pressing down on the top let me pump the stuffed animals full of virtual lead.
Using the ring to shoot and navigate was surprisingly fluid. I mowed down several of the fluffy offenders, but I had a little difficulty changing direction despite being confined to a chair. Still, despite that small hiccup, I never noticed any graphical tearing or latency.
For the final demo, Razer went traditional, pairing the headset with a Xbox 360 controller. Playing a futuristic racing game, Sam tore across the track at breakneck speed. Despite the rapid twists and turns, the OLED display maintained its frame rate. Although the demo didn't allow for 360 degree movement, it successfully delivered the illusion of speed.
Overall Razer's OSVR headset delivered impressive performance in nearly every instance. With the device's growing number of partners and its open-source SDK, Razer is hitting the ground running in the virtual reality race.