When Google acquired Android back in 2005, Android quickly became the “open” mobile platform of choice, a haven for developers that didn’t like all of Apple’s rules and the walled garden of iOS.
Today, Android is the largest mobile operating system in the world, in both worldwide market share and sales, and smartphones and apps would not be where they are without the existence of Android.
Razer, which has been called the “Apple of gaming” because of its polished designs and high price tags, is actually looking to follow in Google’s footsteps — by betting big on virtual reality.
That’s why Razer recently announced Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), an open platform for virtual reality game developers and hardware manufacturers to unify under one umbrella.
Basically, Razer is trying to create the Android for VR, and it has a good chance to succeed.
That’s because virtual reality is really the wild west at the moment. While Oculus VR is leading the charge with the Rift and its partnership with Samsung to create the Gear VR, there is really no unifying virtual-reality platform at this time.
The Rift, which originally started as an open-source, DIY project from Palmer Luckey, has since evolved into a company that is still defining how open (or otherwise) the Rift will be. In the meantime, plenty of game developers, hardware manufacturers, and accessory makers are also creating virtual-reality products.
Ideally, they could all play nicely with one another.
That’s really the goal of OSVR, to make sure that all virtual-reality headsets and accessories will function together.
To show off exactly what it’s talking about, Razer has created its own virtual-reality developer kit that is highly customizable. Because OSVR is more about a unifying platform than any specific piece of hardware, Razer lets users download the plans to make their own version of its headset.
Razer is also making a prebuilt developer kit for tinkerers to demonstrate the software’s open nature and customization options. For example, Razer’s headset includes USB 3 ports for attaching gaming peripherals like the Leap Motion controller for hand tracking.