A few years ago, a company called Oculus announced a new virtual reality headset. Dubbed the "Oculus Rift", it was a headset with two monitors (one for each eye) with head-tracking capabilities. This allowed you, for example, to move your head around in a first-person game instead of relying solely on a keyboard or gamepad.
A couple years later, Sony announces its own headset, "Project Morpheus". It works very similarly to the Rift, employing motion controls on a headset with two tiny monitors.
A year later, Samsung announces the Samsung Gear VR, and you're not going to believe what it does (hint: tiny monitors, motion tracking). And a bit after that, HTC unveiled the HTC Vive, a Steam VR headset made in collaboration with Valve.
Finally, to most peoples' surprise, Microsoft announced their own headset at a (fairly) recent Windows 10 event. It is a bit unique in that it uses some kind of clear LCD to "project" things in front of you, but the motion tracking ideas are the same.
There are a few others that I'm not mentioning, but long story short, there are quite a few VR headsets expected to be released in the coming years. Well, maybe a little too many. Actually, definitely too many. And there lies the problem.
Game developers like to support as many platforms as possible. The days of specializing seem to be over, especially thanks to companies like Unity and its beautiful cross-platform engine. Similarly, when VR headsets actually come out, developers will want to support as many as possible, and this is where it gets difficult. Each headset has its own software developer kit (SDK) that developers will need to integrate into their engine. On top of that, each headset works a little differently, maybe one or two have very unique features, the SDK uses functions that process data differently, etc. This is called fragmentation, and it's going to cause a lot of headaches unless someone is able to standardize it.
And so a company did.
It's called Razer, oddly enough. Razer is known for making peripherals and even entire computers, but apparently they are jumping into the VR scene as well. They are developing the Open Source Virtual Reality project, or OSVR, which aims to reduce the fragmentatino seen in the expected VR headsets. Razer is shipping its own headset along with this new framework, which aims to bring all headsets together:
Razer's Dev Kit is part of the Open-Source Virtual Reality ecosystem, a new platform that aims to make VR as accessible as possible. OSVR is compatible with Windows, Android, and Linux. Any software developed with Unity 3D and Unreal 4 should also be compatible with OSVR hardware. The platform is designed to work with all VR devices, including the Oculus DK 2 and GameFace.
This is really great news for anyone looking to get into VR development. Normally, if someone wanted to support multiple headsets, they would need to write their own integration code for each. They might be able to simplify it by having one function that could switch between headsets based on the need, for example, but that is extra work that the devs would need to do. The OSVR seems to want to alleviate this work from developers and do all the backend stuff in their own framework. This means developers would spend less time on technical VR stuff and more time making a better game, which is good news for us all.