Unless you are content with using smartphone-powered Virtual Reality, VR has been hard to come by in Singapore. HTC and Oculus have both not made any announcement about making their headsets available here. However, it might be too late for them now, as a third option is now available in Singapore. It’s called the OSVR, and while it is still in development, it promises a VR experience on par with the two headsets.
The OSVR experience
OSVR offers essentially the same experience as both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. Looking at a comparison between the three, only a very few missing elements can be seen with this open-source hardware. HTC have their forward-facing camera; Oculus have their built in mic. Otherwise, it is the same experience will all headsets. The hardware requirements to run the headset are the same, so investment in a powerful gaming PC is still essential. Likewise, specs such as the FOV, refresh rate, and resolution is identical.
Aside from being readily available in Singapore, the OSVR has another benefit of its competitors. While the HTC Vive requires a huge tracking space, and the Oculus Rift isn’t much better, the requirements with this headset are much smaller. Only a 2.45×2.7m space is needed. In a country where space is at a serious premium, this could give it a serious edge over its competitors.
Razer, the gaming peripherals company and main instigators of the OSVR, are keen to stress the open-sourced nature of the product. “The HDK 2 is engineered to deliver a visual experience on par with the industry’s best while keeping it at a more affordable cost point in order to bring VR technology to more people.” Says Christopher Mitchell, OSVR Lead, Razer. “It will now also give developers and enthusiasts within the Asia Pacific the freedom to innovate and support a myriad of VR technologies across the world.” Razer further states that their recently announced investment fund will help further incentivise development for the headset.
OSVR headsets enable 3rd party modular customisation, potentially a further incentive to the PC gaming crowd. “Imagine being able to walk down an isle of VR products in your favorite electronics retailer and being able to pick off any combination of hardware you’d like to use without worrying about compatibility.” Says Michael Lee, VP of Software, Razer. “It will be like building your own PC, except this time using cutting edge next generation technology that will immerse you digital experiences like never before.”
Pricing and Availability
OSVR will be sold in Singapore for S$604.90, significantly cheaper than its rivals. It natively supports any titles designed for the Vive or Rift, so there is no concern about compatibility. Gamers interested will have to buy their headset from the online Razer store. Keep in mind that it is still a development kit, intended for enthusiasts and developers. Don’t expect a fully polished product just yet.