CES 2015: Open Source VR Platform Announced

Razer, the company behind a multitude of gaming-specialized products, has given us a look at what could be the future of virtual reality.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Open Source Virtual Reality, or OSVR, has quickly become a topic of excitement, as Razer have been demonstrating their first VR headset. But this headset is merely the hardware front of the much larger OSVR concept.

In a video on their YouTube channel, Razer goes into detail as to exactly what OSVR means for the future. The video explains that because it’s an open source project, “all the hardware and software designs are completely open for anyone and everyone to develop on”, and are merely platforms for those with the know-how and the vision to go create something totally new.

The video goes on to state that this initiative is backed by “some of the leading companies in the industry today”, such as Unreal, Intel, Gearbox, and Unity. Razer promises these companies commitment to keeping the platform “free and open for all”, and cites the Apache 2.0 license that it shares with other open-source platforms such as Android as the bedrock of its open-source nature. Software and plugins are also ready to run on Android, Linux, and Windows immediately.

OSVR as a platform is being actively explained as a non-competitor to the Oculus Rift. Razer hopes that it will grow together with Oculus and that it will continue to spur innovation in creating a ubiquitous consumer product with high potential in gaming.

Those interested in buying a developer’s kit, can pre-order one on Razer’s website for $200 – considerably cheaper than Oculus. These kits are expected to ship in June of this year. Additionally, being open-source in nature, OSVR schematics, component lists, and software can all be downloaded for free if you would like to build your own using a 3D printer.

What potential impact do you see this having on games? Let us know in the comments!