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Razer's new VR headset sounds like a big improvement

The new OSVR Hacker Development Kit 2 (aka HDK2) has better specs -- in both senses -- and will sell for $400 this July.

Eighteen months ago, Razer had a pretty cool idea: an open-source virtual reality headset. Problem was, its $300 OSVR headset wasn't nearly good enough to jumpstart an open software and hardware ecosystem.

So at this year's E3 show, the PC gaming peripheral maker is announcing a new and improved version of the headgear. The Hacker Development Kit 2 will cost more ($400, which is roughly £280 or AU$540, converted), but will improve upon the original in some important ways when it arrives this July.

Most notably, it now has a pair of 2,160x1,200-pixel resolution OLED displays that refresh at 90 Hertz. That's the same spec that allows for buttery-smooth motion on the Oculus Rift, one of its prime competitors.


The HDK 2 also has an improved IR tracking system that uses a series of infrared LEDs mounted inside the headset, again like the Rift. But it still keeps the highly adjustable lens system -- individually adjustable per eye for a wide variety of glasses prescriptions -- that was unique on Razer's original headset at the time.

Still, the original OSVR headset seemed pretty good on paper too, even though it didn't work well in practice. We're looking forward to trying the HDK 2 to see if Razer has a winner on its hands this time.

In addition to the new headset, Razer is announcing a $5 million fund for VR content that works with OSVR systems. Razer says that SteamVR games, the ones that run on the HTC Vive, will work with OSVR headsets.